Dolly Parton famously said, “My weaknesses have always been food and men—in that order.”
As a Dollywood Insider, I’ve been lucky enough to attend a handful of media events with Dolly herself. She has an electric magnetism that people gravitate toward. The more I learn about her, the more I’m impressed and in awe of her as a human. What do I do with my admiration I have for this fellow Tennessean? As a foodie, I want to know and relate to her about what she eats! I set out to find Dolly’s favorite foods at Dollywood—and where you can get those items when you visit.
One of Dolly’s favorite foods is slow-smoked Memphis-style dry rub ribs. She loves them so much she always requests a rack to-go when she wraps up a Dollywood visit and hits the road. These tasty ribs are available at Song & Hearth: A Southern Eatery located in Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa.
For Dolly, Stone Soup isn’t just a warm meal on a cold day. It represents her childhood when her mama would send Dolly and her brothers and sisters outside to find the perfect stone to “flavor” their dinner. Dolly’s mother always understood which child needed affirmation, so she would choose the child who needed her attention the most. She told her family that stone is what made the soup so good. You can find this soup at Dollywood (minus the stones) at Aunt Granny’s Restaurant and at Song & Hearth at the resort.
Sometimes, you’ll hear Southerners call pinto beans soup beans—especially when they’re eating them with cornbread. Whatever you call them, Dolly wanted them on the menu at Dollywood. She was so fond of the meals she shared with childhood friend, Judy Ogle, at Judy’s grandparents’ house, she named a Dollywood restaurant Granny Ogle’s Ham ‘n’ Beans. Thanks to Dollywood’s partnership with BUSHS Beans, you can find tasty bean recipes throughout the park. Below, you see them pictured with some pulled pit ham.
Dolly has joked that she has always been a junk food person. So, of course, you’d expect to find some sweet treats on Dolly’s favorite foods list. If her voice and songwriting didn’t make her legendary, her cinnamon bread recipe would! Head to Dollywood’s Grist Mill the next time you visit and watch them make Dolly’s favorite bread right in front of you. Better go ahead and order two loaves: one for now and one for later.
You wouldn’t know it from looking at her, but Dolly Parton is a mean cook. What she whips up in the kitchen is worthy of praise. One of her favorite treats to make her guests is banana pudding. She’d love for you to try it. Order it when you visit Front Porch Café.
Everything is special at Dollywood because Dolly planned it that way. From the atmosphere and the hosts who work there to the rides and the award-winning food, it’s all a part of delivering an experience from the heart.
You might not get to sit down and chat with Dolly over some tasty banana pudding or some saucy barbecue ribs, but eating them at Dollywood (and knowing that these are her favorites) makes it extra special.