Smoky Mountain Diner in Hot Springs, North Carolina

Ask any food aficionado, and that tasteful traveler will likely tell you that discovering a great diner is an experience akin to uncovering a genuine corner of paradise.

Entrepreneur Clarence Loflin surely stumbled upon that sacred connection in the mid-1980s when he was trying to figure out how to make good use of his tomato-packing building in Hot Springs, North Carolina. If you aren’t familiar with the quaint town of Hot Springs, NC yet, it’s situated just minutes from breathtaking Max Patch, and is full of scenic hiking trails and awe-inspiring views.

When Loflin was deciding what to do with his land, the price of tomatoes had dropped dramatically. Marketing the fruit was no longer profitable—but, the owner of an edifice was equipped with two large freezers. Because the building was already refrigerated, Loflin opted to turn it into a diner. But what would he call his new enterprise? The morning light was illuminating the clouds that blanketed the mountain side—and gave him his answer. The view reminded him of scenes he’s seen in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a mere twenty miles away, beautiful, otherworldly, heavenly.

Lofin decided upon the name “Smoky Mountain Diner.” If you find yourself traveling through western North Carolina, we encourage you stop at the diner! It’s a quaint gem on a southern road trip and is sure to provide great memories and satisfying meals!