At Bush’s Visitor Center, no one gives away the secret family recipe for Bush’s Baked Beans, but groups may request the recipe for Pinto Pie.
“We were looking for country-style bean recipes from the 1930s that we might be able to serve in our restaurant,” said Susan Merrell, store manager. “We tried the Pinto Pie recipe in our kitchen first and it has become a visitor favorite.”
Pinto Pie is sweet, not savory. Thrifty country folk modified the basic pecan pie recipe by using a few pinto beans in the filling, so few that most diners need to hunt for them. It has the rich taste of regular pecan pie, but with less guilt because of the added nutrition. Groups can order little tartlets in advance for lunch or to pack for later on the motorcoach.
Bush’s Visitor Center is a complex of buildings in Chestnut Hill in the rolling farmlands of Tennessee. The original general store, owned by A. J. Bush, has shelves stocked with Bush’s Best products and a variety of items. Attached is a small museum and the restaurant, which serves chili and sandwiches.
“We handle many bus tours coming in from I-40, from Gatlinburg and Sevierville,” Merrell said. “Our restaurant is not large, but (it) can handle bus tour groups with advance notice and in warmer weather, the picnic pavilion is an option.”
There is no admission charge for the museum at Bush’s Visitor Center, and groups can watch a video on Bush’s family history and take a look inside the modern plant across the road.
There are a number of interactive exhibits, including a chance to find out just how “full of beans” groups are, or have a free photo taken in front of a mural with a photo likeness of Duke, the official spokesdog for Bush’s Baked Beans.
For more information, call 865-509-3077 or visit bushbeans.com.
Article by Becky Linhardt