By Shelley Davis-Wise
Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2012, the Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant occupies the renovated family dwelling of what was once a working Sevierville farm.
Apple trees, planted as a pastime, were secondary to crops and cattle. When the mainstay crop failed and the trees began to bear abundant fruit, however, the hobby became an opportunity. When life gives you apples, well, you make apple cider – and sell ‘em, too. Thus, the genesis of the Apple Barn and Cider Mill. After a few years of success and continued customers, you make apple butter, fritters, apple cake, apple pie, dumplings and donuts. You transform the thriving business, flourishing like the trees themselves, into a celebration of all things apple. Then, you open a restaurant.
The original farmhouse, refurbished in 1987, is painted crisp white with neat green trim and overlooks a green sea of manicured lawn. Outside, numerous benches, rocking chairs and a couple of flower-ringed gazebos invite one to sit a spell. Inside, separate dining areas with names like the Parlor, the Pantry and the Sun Porch preserve the intimacy of the original family space. Everywhere, the aroma of something warm and sweet lingers in the air.
Around the table, instead of traditional yeast rolls, patrons are served a basket of the signature apple fritters with apple butter and a glass of sweet iced Applewood Julep. The menu boasts hearty country fare, such as Southern Fried Chicken and Momma’s Country Meatloaf, yet includes enough variety to please every palate. Entrees are amply portioned and come with a vegetable side and homemade soup. Sunday dinner includes all of this as well as a garden salad and a house-made dessert. You surely won’t walk away hungry.
In fact, William B. Stokely IV, president of Stokely Hospitality Enterprises (which runs Applewood and its on-site sister restaurant, Applewood Farmhouse Grill), says he loves hearing from customers who have been returning for years. And they’re not the only ones.
“The majority of our employees have been with us for a very long time,” Stokely says. “We have come to know one another well … and that makes us feel like family.”
Tina, a server at the restaurant, doesn’t hesitate to agree.
“We’re one big family here,” she says. “Everyone helps each other out.” The Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant has indeed cultivated the secret of longevity.
Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant is located at 240 Apple Valley Road in Sevierville, just north of Pigeon Forge in East Tennessee. The restaurant is open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, with breakfast from 8 to11 a.m., lunch from 11a.m. to 4 p.m., and dinner from 4 p.m. until close Monday through Saturday, and Sunday dinner from 11 a.m. until close. For more information, call (865) 428-1222 or visit www.applewoodfarmhouserestaurant.com.