OPINION: Folks Taking A 'Shine' To Blue Porch Desserts
DAN WHITTLE, Courier Columnist
Thursday, August 16, 2012 2:56 am
Consumers are taking a “’shine” to chef Wanda Thompson’s “Moonshine Cookies”…to the point, management professionals at the new Short Mountain Distillery have invited the restaurant to start serving food on Saturdays to increasing numbers of sight-seers who tour the fabled Mountain.
“We’ll have food from the Blue Porch here regularly on Saturdays, starting in August, to accommodate our tour groups that are increasing in number,” verified Distillery Manager of Hospitality John Whittemore.
Patrons at Thompson’s family-owned “The Blue Porch” restaurant (based at the nationally-acclaimed Arts Center of Cannon County in Woodbury) are buying the cookies in bulk, to ship to friends and family coast-to-coast.
“I’ve always loved to bake,” Wanda shared her recipe. “I’ve always used a whiskey in some of my desserts, so when folks started making legal moonshine at the Short Mountain Distillery earlier this year, I asked myself, ‘Why not use locally-produced moonshine?’”
It’s the stuff of which legendsare born in these Cumberland Mountain foothills, to the point not only her cookies are flying off the shelves, but diners regularly return for a taste of Wanda’s increasingly-popular “Bread Puddin’ with Loopy Sauce.”
“I can’t get enough of that ‘Loopy’ sauce and bread pudding,” confirmed Smyrna resident Jennifer Stuart.
“Yes, I add a ‘touch’ of our locally-produced Moonshine to our famous bread pudding,” chef Wanda noted while standing in front of her busy oven.
“I also love the cookies and the bread pudding,” echoed Winchester diner Helen Cates, whose husband Jerry ordered another “cookie for the road.”
If that doesn’t take your taste buds on a Short Mountain “high,” the next time you’re at the Blue Porch eatery, order a heaping portion of Wanda’s “Oat Meal Moonshine Cake.”
The Blue Porch is one of numerous businesses in Cannon County impacted positively by this year’s opening of Short Mountain Distillery.
“The folks from the new distillery not only are producing product, but a positive economic impact in our community,” accounted Woodbury Mayor Harold Patrick. “They’re good members of our Chamber of Commerce and their presence is bringing in new tourism dollars to Cannon County and Middle Tennessee.”
“We’re from Detroit, and while in the region to tour the Stones River National Battlefield, we heard about the Short Mountain Distillery,” described Michigan resident A.J. Andrews. “So, we expanded our stay by a day in order to tour the distillery and the scenic mountain.”
How popular is Short Mountain ‘shine?
“We’re advised the Distillery folks are to expand their facility, because of increased demand,” Mayor Patrick verified. “Word has spread not only through our Volunteer State, but throughout the nation. That results in more and more good clean tourism dollars for our community…”
Blue Porch Restaurant co-owner Aaron Thompson, son of Wanda and Donnell Thompson, stepped away from seasoning his latest pot of green beans to share about the region’s increased tourism.
Just how impactful has the Short Mountain Distillery been for business “down below” in Woodbury?
“We all are benefitting from the folks up on Short Mountain, because they’re bringing in tourists who come to our county now for day-long tourism visits that can start at the historic Readyville Mill that straddles the Rutherford/Cannon County line,” accounted Aaron, who gave up a world-acclaimed newspaper photography career for the restaurant business. “Judging from what our patrons are saying about their destination here, the Short Mountain Distillery has boomed into a major tourism attraction.
“Plus, our Arts Center is one of the most-acclaimed in America, and that helps increase tourism business not only for our restaurant, but for the entire business community…” Aaron noted as he rang up another sale of Moonshine Cookies in his busy cash register.
It’s the first time since Prohibition in the 1920s that the ‘shine of Short Mountain has been legally produced.
Pass the ‘shine, uh, the cookies, please!!