I’ll start here — the tagline for the new Dick’s Last Resort in Gatlinburg is the following: “The shame O’ the Smokies.” That should tell you something.
All we knew about Dick’s Last Resort is that some of our group had walked by it on the Parkway (traffic light #8), noticed that it was new and also noticed that you got a free paper hat if you dined at the restaurant. Well, that sold us. We headed back a few days later for a birthday lunch for my brother-in-law, Daniel.
First of all, I should tell you this: my husband’s family is fairly conservative. We didn’t get up and walk out of Dick’s Last Resort. We chose to laugh instead. But our waitress was walking a fine line. That’s to say — if you’re offended easily or have kids who are old enough to both read and understand innuendos that are hung literally ALL around the restaurant, you may want to skip Dick’s. But if your kids are younger, they’ll love the place. And if you want a unique experience, well, you’ll get it!
Our story: we walked into the restaurant. While we very briefly waited for our table, a waitress pulled the kids to the middle of the floor for a hula hoop lesson. Then she gave them each a balloon and wrote a message on each one. Examples: “Call 911. These people aren’t my parents and they shake me.” “I kiss girls with cooties.” “Future Mrs. Beiber.” As you can imagine, the kids were having a great time even before we sat down.
Our waitress came and threw a bunch of pieces of paper on our table. Then she VERY rudely took our drink orders. The rudeness was extremely exaggerated. That was the point. If you’ve been to Chicago, think Ed Debevic’s. Take the rude waiters/waitresses from there and add an element of heedless sexuality and you have our waitress from Dick’s. Crazy, but oh, so funny.
We all ordered water, and the kids were thrilled when the water showed up in tin buckets. So fun — the water stayed so cold! But it was kind-of hard to drink out of because they were so big. Of course, we asked for straws. Our waitress heaved a big handful at the table, and straws went everywhere — in our waters, in our hair. Again, so funny. We were all laughing.
Not long after that, our waitress came to take our orders. She went to my 4-year-old nephew and ordered him to “scootch over” so she could sit down. He looked weirded out, but did as he was told. She wrote our order on one of the pieces of paper she’d littered the table with earlier. But the whole time, she was picking on my nephew and son. Finally, they decided that this adult was, indeed, fair game. And they started picking back. It was SO funny! They picked and picked until she finally lifted up my nephew and stuck him in an adult-sized high chair! It kind-of freaked him out, but still very fun.
While we waited for our food, more servers came to tie bibs on us and make our hats. Before the meal was finished, they had made hats for every single member of our party, including two babies. Each one had a tongue-in-cheek message. Mine was by far the most inappropriate, so I can’t write it here. But if you’re really curious, leave a comment and an email address and I’ll let you know. I’ll even send you a picture.
During this time, I whispered to our waitress that we were there to celebrate a birthday. She turned to the restaurant at large and said (very loudly), “This young man is here to celebrate this birthday. Do we care?” And everyone replied, “No!” And that was that.
Our food came. It was good, but I’ll say that I think you pay a bit more for the atmosphere. We are a family of food-sharers. Usually at sit-down restaurants, the portions are so large that it’s easy to share. But the portions were not unusually large at all. We were all content, but we ate every bite. Dick’s website, while very fun, is not easy to use. At the time I wrote this, the online menu wasn’t working. But entrees were around $10, I think. We didn’t try any of the buckets o’ grub, but I wish we had. Wonder if they come in a real bucket…
During the meal, someone asked for a napkin, and our waitress threw another huge handful at our table. Again, they went everywhere. It was good for another laugh. Our table was a MESS, with scrap paper, straws, buckets of water and napkins.
And then, I looked up and saw our waitress coming with a dish of what looked like ice cream and what looked like a candle. “Oh,” I thought, “They are going to do something for Daniel’s birthday.” As she got closer, I realized that it was, in fact, a whole book of matches lit on fire and stuck in a dish of whipped cream. Odd. Dan blew out the match book and pulled it out. Then, it was as if a silent alarm had gone off. At least five servers ran to our table and started taking handfuls of the whipped cream and smearing it on the faces of the guys at our table — most of all, the birthday boy. Again, lots of laughs. But not what we expected!
Dick’s Last Resort was one of those places that you’ll want to take people purely for the entertainment value. It really is an experience. And I’m pretty sure our kids will be begging to go back next time we’re walking on the parkway, and they see those paper hats.