The Bush’s Beans Visitor Center makes a great side trip when visiting Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge. This unlikely venues offers 100 years of history, and a lot of information about that can of beans you’ve seen all your life. There’s a museum and a gift shop for unique souvenirs, and of course a restaurant so you don’t go away hungry after spending time with all that food.
Bush’s Beans has been in business for over 110 years. The descendants of A.J. Bush, the original entrepreneur who built the family business, pride themselves on keeping the company in the family.
The museum experience is free to all visitors, and the museum tour, which includes a 20-minute film, takes you through the history of the company and how the famous beans are made. Discover interactive exhibits that highlight the factory (the factory itself isn’t open to visitors, but you can see it across the street).
You can also view a model of the factory, along with commercial props from their famous TV ads, and personal artifacts belonging to the Bush family. Before you leave, you can even walk inside a can of beans and, for fun, weigh yourself to see just how much you weigh in beans!
The general store features a variety of Bush’s Beans branded merchandise, along with a number of classic “country” souvenir items. You’ll also discover whimsical items and other fun purchases. Many of the items for sale here also feature images of Duke, the beloved company dog, who is the Bush mascot. If you’re a bean-lover, you can also buy cans of beans in a variety of flavors, ranging from common ones found in grocery stores to unique flavors that aren’t sold everywhere.
The Bush’s Family Café is popular and offers visitors an expansive menu to choose from. You can taste southern specialty dishes, including fried chicken, catfish, sweet potato fries, okra, and pinto bean pie, to name a few popular menu items. The main entrees on the café menu range from about $6 to $10, and you can also choose from a number of side dishes and desserts. Everyone who dines at the café gets a free sample of the “bean of the day” before your meal.
The visitor center offers plenty of parking and is fully wheelchair-accessible. Also, Duke himself may be welcoming visitors, as he does make occasional appearances for meet and greets. Note that although Bush’s Beans loves dogs, only service animals are allowed inside the facility, so your family pet would have to remain outside.
The trip to Bush’s Beans Visitor Center is a scenic route and offers a nice reprieve if you’re looking for something unique to do. It’s about a 35-minute drive from Pigeon Forge, with an extra 10 minutes if coming from Gatlinburg. This would be a good time to know about some of our tips for the Back Roads and Shortcuts for getting out of town from either location and not wasting time in traffic.
This map will show you where you’re going. (Note that the Center’s address says Dandridge, which appears on the north side of Douglas Lake, but the place is actually in Chestnut Hill, on the south side – just look for it on Hwy 411 and you’ll be fine.) This location is right where A.J. started his “modest little cannery” by the way, so the history goes all the way into the roots here.
The Visitor’s Center is open Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., but some hours may vary due to holiday or seasonal hourly changes – check the website for these.
Bush’s Beans Visitor Center
3901 US-411, Dandridge, TN 37725