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Restaurant, gift shop now open at Brushy

By Goose Lindsay

For more than 100 years the food at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary wasn’t considered the best in the world.
That perception changed this week as the restaurant and gift shop opened for business at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary.

“We’re ready,” Brushy Mountain Group President Pete Waddington said. “It’s exciting and we’re shooting to get the rest of the stuff open, the tours and such, by the end of the month. Our stage is going to be done this week and we have our first show, Fairview Union, set for July 28.“

Waddington promises the food at Brushy will be top notch and it features items that folks in this area will recognize.

“It’s a lot of southern food,” he said. “We’ll have a lot of barbecue, a lot of ribs, smoked turkey, brisket, chicken and burgers, and everything here is made from scratch.”

Waddington also feels eating at Brushy won’t break the bank.

“Most things on the menu will be $10 or less,” he said. “The brisket is a little more and a slab of ribs is more, but we’re trying to keep that price point between 9 and 12 bucks.”

The gift shop features items such as T-shirts, souvenir glasses and Soap on a Rope, but the biggest seller in the gift shop should be moonshine that is made at the prison. Brushy currently makes nine types of moonshine, some are not found anywhere else.

“They’re all different and good in their own way,” Waddington said. “We have some unique flavors that our competition does not do. The Cinarum is a flavor profile like mixing a rum shot with a fireball. We developed that flavor.”

Waddington is one of many excited about the progress at Brushy. Morgan County Economic Development Board Executive Director Lisa Collett has been alongside Waddington from the beginning and knows the potential Brushy has for the county.

“We’ve been working on this for over five years and it’s been a long time coming,” Collett said. “We’re very excited about the jobs and the great tourism it will bring to Morgan County.”

“We’re super excited,” Waddington added. “We’ve had tons of help from Lisa and her board. A lot of local and state politicians have helped. We’re excited to finally see something happen.”

The restaurant and gift shop at Brushy will be open from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. during the week and 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. on weekends.