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Relax on the peaceful side of the Smokies at Townsend's new brewery and craft kitchen

Peaceful Side Social is open in Townsend. When they start making their own beer within the next year, they'll be the town's first local brewery.

TOWNSEND, Tenn. — Townsend hails itself as the peaceful side of the Smoky Mountains.

If you've never been, it's the town right next to Cades Cove that's long accommodated hikers, Jeep drivers and river tubers.

Now, adventure seekers have a new place they can relax and grab a drink after a day in the mountains, and this newest business in Townsend wants nothing more than to keep this side of the Smokies peaceful.

"What we want to offer is a relaxing atmosphere and setting for people to consume healthy, good-for-you food, and also have a couple of beers if they'd like to," said Houston Oldham, Director of Operations for Oldham Hospitality.

He helps manage Peaceful Side Social, a new brewery and craft kitchen on the main drag in Townsend.

"We took what was an old Dollar General and a small restaurant next to it and basically built out a modern warehouse feel that you might be more akin to see in the Old City of Knoxville," said Oldham.

He said the new restaurant and hang-out spot is what Townsend was missing.

"The demographics that come to Townsend have been changing for the last few years," said Oldham. "We felt like this town needed something targeted more towards the people that drink beer and that really enjoy having a beer experience."

Peaceful Side Social plans to start brewing its own beer soon. Until then, they're serving other Knoxville and Tennessee beers on tap.

Whether you buy a beer or a meal, each purchase makes a difference.

"Each time you come in here, we have a different nonprofit that we focus on where you can round your check up and donate to them," said Oldham. "We have a matching process where we make sure they get at least $500 every month."

Since opening in the fall of 2021, they've donated proceeds to Save our Smokies, BUSAR Search and Rescue, Little River Watershed, and this month to Keep Blount Beautiful.

Oldham said they try to choose groups who help the local environment or national park in some way.

"We are surrounded on just about all sides by different features of the park and the natural territories that we all enjoy," he said.

On the food side of things, their sourdough pizzas are a popular item, along with shareable sides and entrees that their regulars approve.

Healthy options like the salmon power bowl and gluten-free menu items serve a wider audience.

"I was back talking to our kitchen and they got done making the brownies and yelled at me because I distracted them so much that they forgot to put flour in them, and we ended up with a gluten-free brownie," said Oldham.

He said they're starting to build a 6,000 square-foot beer garden to expand outdoor seating and accommodate all the locals and adventure seekers passing through Townsend.

"We have so many different young families and large groups of families that come here that have dogs and kids with them that all we want to do is make sure they feel comfortable and have fun out here," he said.

Part of that is building nature-inspired play equipment for kids, and offering more dining and drinking options in the beer garden.

Peaceful Side Social is open every day except Tuesdays on East Lamar Alexander Parkway in Townsend.