The Peaceful Side Brewery in Townsend is the perfect stop in the Smoky Mountains

For months The Grub Spouse and I had heard reports from friends who had dined at the Peaceful Side Social in Townsend and had nothing but good things to say about the restaurant and brasserie. Spouse and I had reservations at Cades Cove campground last weekend so decided to drop by PSS for dinner on the way to the creek so we could see what the fuss was about. It occupies the easternmost end of the same shopping site as the Townsend IGA supermarket.

Peaceful Side Social is a counter service restaurant, but we took a few minutes to study the menu signage before queuing. Appetizers to share include pretzels with beer cheese, truffle fries, goat cheese beignets, smoked trout dip, and an Appalachian board with country ham, salami and a variety of regional Benton cheeses. Several salads are also on the menu, each with the option of adding shredded chicken, salmon or shrimp as a protein topping.

Among the trio of sandwiches available are the Mountain Italian Hoagie and the intriguing smoked trout and avocado sandwich. I decided to go for one of the few starter lists, the half chicken + potatoes ($16), which had been recommended by a friend.

Half Chicken and Potatoes at the Peaceful Side Social Brewery & Craft Kitchen in Townsend.

The spouse volunteered to order one of PSS’s pizzas or “round loaves” as they are called locally. Each is prepared on a 12-inch sourdough crust and varieties include Fig + Pear, Buffalo Chicken, Margherita, and Pepperoni. Spouse opted for the Italian sausage + veggie pie for $14. It is further garnished with marinated artichokes, shiitake and portobella mushrooms and Fresno peppers.

To hold me over until mealtime, I also ordered a regional IPA from PSS’s list of about a dozen rotating taps. We managed to find an empty table in the auxiliary dining room, which is also where a singer-guitarist used to go through his repertoire of 80s music. (I was particularly impressed with his rendition of “Driver 8” of REM in 1985).

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When our food was ready, a member of staff delivered it to our table. My serving platter was dominated by half a roast chicken and an abundance of herb roasted potatoes. The chicken meat was tender, moist and full of flavor. Likewise, the miniature potatoes were well cooked and notable for their herb seasonings. It was a substantial portion, so much so that I only managed about half the portion. (I packed the rest, but unfortunately we had power issues in our RV fridge, so we had to sacrifice our beloved leftovers.)

Round bread at Peaceful Side Social Brewery & Craft Kitchen in Townsend.

The pizza was really good. I’ve always loved Italian sausage and artichokes, and chopped mushrooms and peppers upped the ante when it comes to taste. The highlight for me was the soft and chewy sourdough crust. I had a few slices of round bread from The Spouse, and the only slice left from that 12 inch didn’t survive our fridge troubles either.

Peaceful Side Social offers brownies and cookies for dessert, but we skipped both before heading to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

While I certainly enjoyed my meal and the general vibe of PSS, I actually felt it had been somewhat overhyped. I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between this establishment and another local establishment, Townsend Abbey, which The Spouse and I visited almost two years ago. Both are worthy stops for people traveling to or from the mountains who want to relax with some tasty food and maybe a local beer. In this comparison, however, I have to give Townsend Abbey a slight edge for its more bucolic riverside setting. And honestly, neither is more distinctive than any number of comparable establishments one might find in the greater Knoxville area. But the thing is, both stand out more in a smaller market like Townsend.

Nonetheless, I have no qualms recommending Peaceful Side Social. Food and drink did the trick, and they have plenty of outdoor seating on days and evenings when the sky doesn’t pour rain continuously, like it did last weekend. If I ever decide to stop by again, The Spouse and I will hopefully have all of our trailer’s refrigeration issues fixed in advance.

Bon voyage to all of you this summer!

Peaceful side Social brasserie and artisanal cuisine

Food: 4

A service: 3.75

Atmosphere: 3.75

Globally: 4

Address: 7967 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Townsend

Call: 865-518-6300

Beer and wine service only

Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Sunday

This restaurant and brewery in Townsend would be a good place for a road stop on the way to or from the Great Smoky Mountains.

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