As I’ve mentioned before, if any particular restaurant had to rely on us as a steady customer in order to survive, they’d go broke. We rarely eat twice at the same restaurant in a month…or even in a 2 month period.
Well…the same rule applies to our grocery purchases. Our standard grocery purchases are spread between Food Lion, Ingles, Food City and Costco with occasional stops at Fresh Market, Publix and Kroger. Beyond that, there are a couple of truly 'local stores' where we shop every couple months or so…
One of our periodic stops is at Benton’s in Madisonville Tennessee. Benton’s is famous among chefs across the USA…and popular among knowing locals too!
Benton’s is a key source for hundreds of gourmet chefs as well as a lot of local restaurants. They order the country ham, prosciutto and Benton’s bacon, using these products to enhance their culinary creations.
But…as you can see above, Benton’s also has a store attached to the production facility that is open to the public.
Butcher at work! This is where they cut and process their hams and other smoked products for shipping. It’s also where you can have your personal orders cut and packaged.
Just entering the store is an experience… The smoked ham, bacon and prosciutto give off a distinctive smoky smell that clings to your clothes. You can tell that someone has been to Benton's for 'a period' after they’ve visited! Hams and bacon for commercial and private purchase hang in clear view of walk-in customers.
Customers can buy slices of country ham, prosciutto and seasoning meat for beans, greens, etc. As you can see, they also sell as few specialty items and Benton’s T-Shirts.
Benton’s store in Madisonville also sells a variety of lunch meat, cheese, shrimp, onion rings, salmon filets, French fries, chicken tenders, hot dogs (wieners) and tubs of BBQ pork.
We did pretty well… Laurie loves their farm fresh free range eggs. We also picked up a package of Benton’s bacon (great bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches or commonly known as BLT'S), a few thick slices of some terrific bologna, a couple pounds of Benton’s mild sausage (the spicy sausage is great too) and 2 nice ribeye steaks.
I did point out Benton’s butchering/meat processing area. In addition to ribeye steaks, customers can buy New York strip steaks, beef tenderloins, pork baby back ribs, pork loins and hamburger in bulk or patty form.
If you ever get a chance to check out Benton’s retail store, you can check out the commercial operation too. With luck, Allan Benton will be on site. He looks a bit like a younger Jimmy Carter and he is a very nice and a very humble person! Benton’s is located at 2603 Highway 411 North in Madisonville Tennessee. Phone: 423-442-5003. You can learn more and order the smoked products on-line at http://bentonscountryhams2.com/.
Sloan’s Hometown Foods in Vonore Tennessee is another local store that we visit every month or two. This is a small full service grocery store that comes complete with butchers who will provide whatever cut of beef or pork that you might want. Contiguous with the grocery side of the store, there is a gas station, car wash, convenience store and a hardware store that also has some fishing and hunting equipment. It’s where I buy my live bait…
At Sloan’s we picked up a little fresh ground beef, boneless chicken thighs, some chorizo and a couple of great pork steaks for the grill. Their meat selection is always fresh and the prices are very reasonable. The grocery store also carries my Heinz Spicy Ketchup…my favorite ketchup!
Sloan’s is a bit of a family owned local multi-unit conglomerate and no 2 stores are the same. However, the Vonore location is the only full service grocery unit. Other stores in Etowah, Madisonville and Loudon feature everything from expanded convenience store/gas stations to full service hardware stores & garden centers (at least 2 with a deli or restaurant), 2 of which also sell lumber and building products to local contractors.
Sloan’s in Vonore Tennessee is located at the corner of TN Hwy 360 and US Hwy 411. Website: http://www.sloansstore.com/. The website hasn’t been updated with the information about the Etowah location but that location is on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SloansofEtowah/.
That’s about it for now… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave