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Made in Tennessee: Bell's Drive In


Bells drive-in has been in Henderson for nearly 70 years, and they claim to have the best burger this side of heaven.

[A] Special recipe in the burgers and that’s what’s carried them through and it’s just a hometown gathering i mean everybody knows bells,” said Denise Kinchen Bell’s manager.

Ferris and Mary Sue Bell began serving burgers in Henderson back in 1954.

The original building burned in 1965 but the couple was able to reopen the drive-in.

Eventually their children Joe and Judy Bell took over the operation of the restaurant.

Denise Kinchen grew up at Bell’s with Joe and Judy. She said, “I started washing dishes when I was 11 years old, I say Judy and Joe raised me, if we needed something extra for school, they were always there to always pick up the tab."

Over the years the Bells always called on Denise whenever they needed help.

Then last December, Denise took over the restaurant from her mother figure Judy,

“It’s always been my dream to take bells,” said Denise. She hopes that her purchase of the drive in will be finalized soon

Bell’s claims to have the best burgers this side of heaven and many in Tennessee seem to agree,

“You can see on the walls different awards, best burger, best milkshake throughout the years."

Bells recently started selling barbeque along with its famous burgers, but for Debrorah plunk, who comes here often, the milk shakes are her favorite: “Strawberry, the chocolate and the vanilla are both good.”

Denise said the drive in is a local gathering place, but many people visit as well “We have people from out of town that will come in and you know, ‘we heard it from the Tennessee magazine and stuff like that.’”

It may be tough to find an old-fashioned drive in but there is one alive and well in Henderson, TN carrying on the bell

Bell’s Drive in, made in Tennessee.

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