Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 40

PHOTO COURTSEY THE LATE ROMIE BRITT

BEAN BARN : THE HISTORY

Zella Mae and Romie Britt stand in front of
their Depot Street location.

Romie and Zella Mae Britt were teenagers in 1929 when the stock
market crashed. They knew hard times, and as a result, they could
make a little food go a long way.
They opened Britt's Grill on Depot Street in downtown
Greeneville, Tenn., beneath Waddell Hardware, in 1946. Romie
Britt was born in Glasgow, Ky. He had a third-grade education.
Zella Mae, born in Greene County, Tenn., finished fifth grade.
Together they built a business in beans.
In 1952, Romie and Zella Mae took over the Andrew Johnson
Service Station on Summer Street, near the town's black community, and stayed there 17 years. In this filling station and diner
named for the 17th President of the United States, the Britts introduced Beans All the Way. They combined two dishes that had been
simmering on Appalachian stoves for generations: soup beans
and beef stew.
"Everybody always laughed at their beans and everything,"
recalls daughter Geraldine Pierce. "One man would always tell
him, 'All I want is your profit, I don't want any of your beans in
there, I just want the soup. I just want your profit.' Because you
always had to pour extra water in it when they would cook down.
They said, 'There goes Romie, putting more profit in those beans.'"
In 1969, Romie and Zella Mae moved the business to its current
location on East Church Street, in a building that once housed Stills
Grocery.
Zella Mae died in 1999. Romie died in 2003. Through marriage,
the business is still in the family. Husband and wife Jerry and Donna
Hartsell took over in December of 1981. -FS
40 | BlueRidgeCountry.com

COLORFUL CUSTOMERS have always been a part of

life at Britt's Grill and The Bean Barn, including the
late Fred Roberts, who was forced to avoid the
beans, but left behind his perspective on the place:
"Well, used to I didn't come in here at all because I
thought all they did was serve beans, and I don't do
beans. Dr. Henard told me they'd kill me if I eat any
more of them, so I quit eating them. But after I
found out they served a real good breakfast, that's
where I landed."
LeAnne Thwing, daughter of longtime
Greeneville radio personality LeRoy Moon, picks
up on the good breakfast theme.


http://www.BlueRidgeCountry.com

Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014

Cover
Table of Contents
From the Editor / Worth a Click
From the Farm
Digital Help Guide
Creature Feature
The Hike
Mountain Report
Great Home Buys in the Mountains
Festivals & Events
Country Roads
Sip the Best: Mountain Wines, Brews and Spirits
Experience North Georgia
Wild Ponies of the Grayson Highlands: The Photoessay
‘Favorite Restaurant in All The World’
Sadie, Ace Baseball Dog
Sleeping in the Museum (No, on Purpose! In a Bed!)
Mountain Garden
Cabin in the Woods: The Expansive Welcome of Primland
Guest Column
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Intro
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Cover1
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Cover2
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Table of Contents
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 4
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - From the Editor / Worth a Click
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - From the Farm
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 7
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Digital Help Guide
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - The Hike
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 11
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Great Home Buys in the Mountains
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Festivals & Events
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 15
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 16
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 17
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 19
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Sip the Best: Mountain Wines, Brews and Spirits
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 21
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 22
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 23
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 24
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 25
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Experience North Georgia
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 27
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 28
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 29
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 30
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 31
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 32
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 33
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Wild Ponies of the Grayson Highlands: The Photoessay
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 35
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 36
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 37
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - ‘Favorite Restaurant in All The World’
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 39
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 40
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 41
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 42
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 43
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Sadie, Ace Baseball Dog
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 45
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Sleeping in the Museum (No, on Purpose! In a Bed!)
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 47
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 48
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 49
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 50
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 51
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 52
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 53
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 54
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 55
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 56
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 57
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 58
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 59
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Mountain Garden
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 61
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Cabin in the Woods: The Expansive Welcome of Primland
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 63
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 64
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - 65
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Cover3
Blue Ridge County - March/April 2014 - Cover4
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