Monday, October 22, 2012

Tellico Beach – A Local Tradition!

Of course there was a lunch involved during our recent drive to Tellico Plains, where we visited the Tellico Grains Bakery and checked out a couple of sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  We decided to try an eatery that is definitely a local tradition!  Laurie’s hairdresser had recommended this family spot for its food and its prices…

This is the Tellico Beach Drive-In Restaurant…they were celebrating their 50th year in operation!  Given the fact that this restaurant is not exactly on a major highway, plus the fact that darn few restaurants or small businesses last 50 years, one has to be impressed by Tellico Beach’s longevity! 
As you can see, the Tellico Beach Drive-In is a traditional old time operation.  You walk up to the window and place your order.  You get a number and then you wait for your number to be called.  The food is prepared when you order it… It’s not just sitting there in a wrapper waiting to be purchased.
There are no menus per se.  Everything is posted on 1 of 3 or 4 boards posted on the wall of the building.  As you can see, the Tellico Beach Drive-In offers quite a variety of food for the hungry day trippers as well as the locals who regularly frequent this place.
Place your order and pay the bill at the left hand window… When your number is called, you pick up your food at the right hand window.  It can’t be much more basic than that!

The ladies working inside were on a first name basis with a surprising number of their customers.  They even knew what some folks were going to order…
Less than 1,000 people live in nearby Tellico Plains and the road passing the restaurant leads to the Cherohala Scenic Skyway…which passes through the Cherokee National Forest and winds its way over the Smoky Mountains to North Carolina.  I’m sure that tourists provide the bulk of the business but it was apparent that despite their limited numbers, locals are key supporters of this restaurant.
So this is what we were told we should order.  We both ordered the Quarter-Pound Bacon Cheeseburger with French Fries and a small Cole Slaw.  ($3.15 for the burger, $1.85 for the fries and $.70 for the cole slaw =$5.70 each) The burger was good if not great, we enjoyed the slaw and the French fries were fresh and hot. 

The price was right…and the food was just fine.  Those facts are the reasons that I’m sure that The Tellico Beach Drive-In continues to thrive.  They even offer a 2 oz. burger for those on a tight budget.  If everyone ordered a Quarter Pound Cheeseburger, a small French fry and a small drink, you could feed a family of 4 for only $23.40.
There is another selling point for this restaurant… It’s all about the dining ambience!  There isn’t any indoor dining…so you’re ‘forced’ to choose a picnic table on the shore of the Tellico River.  Such a hardship!  What a great view…
Here’s one more view of the Tellico River behind the Tellico Beach Drive-In.  It’s scenery like this that helped convince us to locate to East Tennessee after I retired!

While this certainly isn’t gourmet dining…or even the best burger ever…the Tellico Beach Drive-In is a great place to grab a bite to eat, especially if you have a family!  The only real downside that we could see is the fact that there are no public restrooms.  They also only accept cash and local checks.
The Tellico Beach Drive-In is located at 1801 Cherohala Skyway in Tellico Plains Tennessee.   Phone: 423-253-2606.  They don’t have a website but you can check out some restaurant reviews for this restaurant by clicking on this link:  I will tell you that 18 of the reviews ranked the Tellico Beach Drive-In as excellent or very good, 6 ranked it as average and 1 ranked it as ‘terrible’.  You just can’t please all of the people all of the time…
Thanks for stopping by and sharing the scenery and lunch with us!
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. I've seen this place but never stopped. Hopefully we can get to the point of going with you on some of these.

  2. my favorite kind of place!!
    and wow..50 years..they are definitely doing something right!

  3. Dear Dave, This sounds like a great local place with a view from God.
    The prices certainly sound reasonable and I love the fact the people are on a first name basis. A good place to get a bite to eat. Blessings, Catherine