One of the best things about visiting new towns is finding all the tiny, tucked away shops that only the locals know about. If you're in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, a delightful town in the Great Smoky Mountains just down the road from Pigeon Forge, the shop you have to find is The Donut Friar. We are, of course, big fans of doughnuts (or donuts, if you prefer). From the homemade to local hidden gems to the big chains, a fresh doughnut makes everything better.
It's Not a Visit to Gatlinburg Without a Stop at the Donut Friar
Tucked behind the fountain in The Village Shops in downtown Gatlinburg, The Donut Friar shop looks like a tiny cottage straight out of a fairy tale. Opened by Jim Ryan in 1969, it is the only original shop in The Village still in operation. It's also the second oldest continuously-run and family-owned restaurant in Sevier County. Follow the sweet smell of pastries inside and you'll find cases of fresh doughnuts.
The Donut Friar opens at 5 a.m. every day, and the staff shows up in the early hours of the morning to make the donuts by hand. On any given day, you might find a Boston creme donut with a smiley face drawn on top, along with chocolate glazed donuts, chocolate coffee donuts, coconut delight donuts, eclairs, cinnamon twists, cinnamon cake donuts and crullers.
The prices at this little donut shop are amazing; most of the doughnuts are just over a buck, so you can get your doughnut fix and bring a bunch to your coworkers or friends without taking a hit to your wallet.
And locals know that as good as the doughnuts are, The Donut Friar cinnamon bread is even better, but you need to get there early to try some or call the day before and ask them to reserve a loaf for you. Depending on the time of day, you may find a line, but it moves quickly.
Doughnuts require coffee, and The Donut Friar has what the SmokyMountains.com experts call the best coffee in downtown Gatlinburg. The coffee bar has regular coffee and will make you an espresso, cappuccino or latte to go with your donut choice.
It is a small place, but there are tables outside to sit and enjoy your pastries and coffee. When you visit, make sure you bring cash, since The Donut Friar does not accept credit cards. They do have an ATM on site if you forget.
The Donut Friar is located at 634 Parkway Ste 15, Gatlinburg, TN 37738.