If you take 421 out of downtown Bristol, you’ll pass by a real landmark, Tootie’s. This venerable establishment started in 1945 and is still going strong today. That part of town used to be known as Willie Boom, back in the day when there was a lake where Food City is now on Virginia Avenue. Through the years, Tootie’s has seen it all and thrived.
The main reason, of course, is the food. Tootie’s features an extensive menu from breakfast all day thru great lunch offerings and ice cream and homemade desserts. The star of the show has always been their fresh ground, hand formed hamburgers. And the real star of the burger show is the Arvil Burger, named after proprietor Arvil Vance, who owns the place with his wife Jane. This concoction is a 10-ounce burger with onions fried within to weld the flavor throughout. Served on a big bun with double everything, lettuce, tomato, mayo and onion – oh, and one secret ingredient to enhance the flavor even more. This baby weighs in at 1 lb. & 2 oz. If that won’t fill you up, I am not sure anything will.
Not up for a burger today? Tootie’s offers great hot dogs, hot and cold subs, side dishes too numerous to mention and they even have a BBQ platter. The menu has certainly kept up with the times, but sitting on their patio enjoying a delicious meal, you can’t help but look around and harken back to the days when this was the only restaurant between State Street and Mountain City and was the “capital” of Willie Boom, Tennessee. Do yourself a favor and head over to Tootie’s. You’ll be glad you did – I know I am!