What’s Cookin’: Down-home Dining

down_home

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Butterbeans restaurant packages antiques, entertainment and award-winning food into a new restaurant built on decades of success.

story by ANITA STIEFEL | photos by ANITA STIEFEL and RANDY GRIDER

If you’re looking for country cooking served by friendly people in an eclectic, family-friendly environment, look no further than Butterbeans restaurant atop Lookout Mountain. Oh, yeah – and if you enjoy perusing interesting and unusual antiques, you can accomplish that there, too.

Owners B.J. and Cindy Parson opened Butterbeans in December 2013 as a way to combine their two passions – cooking and antiquing.[s2If !is_user_logged_in()]

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[/s2If][s2If is_user_logged_in()]“We’ve always been in the restaurant business, and antiques are our hobby,” explains B.J. “We wanted to make a switch and open an antiques store, but in this economy we decided the two businesses could supplement each other.”

“The restaurant is work, and the antiques are fun,” Cindy agrees. “We find most of the antiques by shopping at flea markets, yard sales and estate sales.”

Among the many items that serve as décor for the restaurant are a mid-1800s organ from Scotland, lobster traps from Maine and a genuine
Appalachian copper still.

“We have a lot of knives, cleavers, guns, castiron, furniture, desktops and porcelain dolls,”

B.J. says. “We have lots of pottery and glass, including Cobalt blue, Roseville, McCoy, Murano and Steuben. We have some storage containers dating back to the 1700s.”

All the antiques on display are for sale.

“I love the look of Butterbeans,” says customer Misty Henderson. “You’ll see antiques and knick-knacks like we all saw in our grandmother’s kitchen. The feel of the entire place is really comfortable for the whole family.”

The Parsons ran a successful barbecue business in Niceville, Fla., before moving to Lookout Mountain last summer.

“We’ve had a house up here for 13 years, and we finally moved up here to stay last June,” B.J. says. “I love living on the mountain.”

The restaurant’s menu includes the Parsons’ award-winning barbecue chicken, baby-back ribs, beef brisket and pulled pork. But it doesn’t stop there; they also serve ribeye steaks, salads, sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, chicken tenders, jumbo stuffed baked potatoes and fried green tomatoes.

“We didn’t want to call ourselves a barbecue place because people see that on the sign and think it’s all you have,” Cindy explains. “We have a lot of dishes, not just barbecue.”

Side dishes vary, but typically include french fries, sweet potatoes, onion rings, baked beans, pinto beans, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes,
potato salad, cole slaw, fried eggplant, collard greens and, of course, butterbeans.

“I’m a big fan of the eggplant strips, something special to Butterbeans,” Henderson says.

“The okra and fried green tomatoes are done country-style with just a touch of cornmeal. Their lunch specials are fantastic, especially their
fried catfish and slaw.”

Patron Stephanie Conkle says both the atmosphere and food are great. “My favorite menu item is the stuffed potato, stuffed with barbecue
pulled pork. It’s humongous – enough to take home and eat for dinner, too.”

The Parsons have a wall full of trophies and ribbons from their days in competition cooking, and know many of the people featured on television
shows including “Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction” (Food Network), “BBQ Pitmasters” (Destination America), “BBQ Crawl” (Travel Channel) and “Barbecue University” (PBS).

“It’s really the sauce that makes the barbecue,” B.J. says. “We tweaked my grandmother’s recipe and have done really well with it.”

The sauce has won first prize at Sloss Furnaces’ Stokin’ the Fire BBQ and Music Festival in Birmingham, was named the grand champion sauce at the Maggie Valley BBQ Festival in North Carolina and took first place at Bass Pro Shops’ BBQ Cook-off at Lake Guntersville in Alabama.

Jars of the award-winning sauce are for sale in several sizes at Butterbeans. On Thursday nights guests enjoy live acoustic music by local artists. Someone asked to play, and things grew from there, B.J. says. “It gives people out here a place to go for a little music without driving into town. There are so many talented musicians in this area.”

If You Go

GETTING THERE: Butterbeans is at 105 County Road 89, Fort Payne, AL 35967 (in a community locally known as “Dogtown”)

HOURS: Wednesday, 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m.

CHECK OUT NEARBY ATTRACTIONS INCLUDING: Akins Furniture, a discount store also located in “Dogtown” and known throughout the Southeast (akinsfurniture.com), and Little River Canyon National Preserve, which features one of the most extensive canyon systems in the eastern United States (nps.gov/liri).

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