Curious Dog Opens at the Jackson Avenue Market

Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

This is one of those situations where some of you are saying, “Well, of course they did.” That’s because this is one of those little changes that slipped past me for a while. A friend mentioned it, then I noticed the (relatively) new sign outside. It still said, “Jackson Avenue Market” on the outside, so I wondered exactly what was happening here and stepped inside.

Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

Angela Szabo who has been with the Market from the beginning explained that they are still the Jackson Avenue Market (200 W. Jackson Avenue), but they’ve changed things up pretty dramatically and added the Curious Dog part of the business as a focal point. The little L-shaped space still looks mostly the same. The mural I pictured in the article I wrote when they first opened in 2011 still graces the wall befuddling at least this passerby.

Seating has been expanded and the cooler, which used to have a more mundane selection of beer, now has large numbers of craft beers my beer-drinking friends have told me about and a bunch that I don’t recognize at all. They do the usual mix and match option. There are still a few beers on tap; a couple of Blackhorse beers, PBR. Vintage games (read, “the ones I played when I was young”) line two back walls. The games are on loan from a friend who collects them. The guitars hanging on the back wall belong (this is from memory from three years ago, so I’m pretty sure) to Matt.

Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

Brothers Todd and Matt Weidenhamer have owned and operated the business since its inception and a few months ago decided it needed a shakeup and that marked the inception of the hot dog angle. The creativity began to flow with that and the sandwiches and the list of possibilities grew too long for the chalk boards.

Sandwich Menu at Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

Sandwich Menu at Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

Hot Dog Menu at Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

Hot Dog Menu at Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

Nacho Menu at Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

Nacho Menu at Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

The hot dogs are all-beef on Italian bread and the sandwiches are made of Amish meats and cheese sliced while you watch just for your sandwich. The hot dogs are named after places (except for the Curious Dog) from Thailand to Jersey and the sandwiches are named (mostly) after people from Tony Soprano to Rachel Ray. I’m told a Danny Devito is in development. You’ll have to figure out the connections in either case, but you’ll find some unusual ingredients and unusual combinations of tastes.

Todd Weidenhamer and Angela Szabo at Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

Todd Weidenhamer and Angela Szabo at Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

The Curious and Hawaiian Dogs at Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

The Curious and Hawaiian Dogs at Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

Urban Woman and I got the Curious Dog and the Hawaiian Dog. I ate the Curious Dog with bbq, potato salad and (a generous amount) of bacon. Very tasty and it all worked together, somehow. I didn’t need any sides. Urban Woman liked her Hawaiian with ham, pineapple, bbq, slaw, honey and topped with sesame seeds. I’m not a slaw kind of guy, but she said it was good. Both were very filling. I was pleased to find Mexican coke in the cooler, so that topped it off for me.

Todd and Matt Weidenhamer at Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

Todd and Matt Weidenhamer at Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

They also sell cupcakes which are tricked out in various ways. They recently made one that looked like a cheese burger, for example and had to explain to one customer that, no, it would not taste like a cheese burger, it was, in fact a cupcake. The cupcakes are actually called Maddie Cakes after Maddie (Matt’s daughter) who joined us after she got out of school. The cupcakes are made by Todd, but Maddie gives the occasional hand and remains the inspiration.

Todd and Matt Weidenhamer, Angela Szabo and Maddie posing with the Maddie Cakes, Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

Todd and Matt Weidenhamer, Angela Szabo and Maddie posing with the Maddie Cakes, Curious Dog at the Jackson Ave. Market, Knoxville, October 2014

Much of what you’ll find is made in-house, from the cupcakes to the nachos. They make their own kimchi and the mayonnaise, as well. The Maddie Cakes are vegan-friendly and they use the brothers’ grandmother’s recipe and make them fresh daily.

It’s also a late-night place to pick up something to eat, with hours running from 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM Monday through Thursday and 11:00 AM – 1:00 AM Friday and Saturday.

Mango’s Decor and Co. Opens in the Old City

Mango's Decor and Co., Knoxville, October 2014

Mango’s Decor and Co., Knoxville, October 2014

A new store opened last week in the Old City at 111 N. Central Street inside the same building as the Melting Pot. Featuring “upscale home decor at a competitive price,” the store sits on the northern edge of the Old City, just across the tracks from the soon-to-be-available apartments at the White Lily Building. Just across the street the old Patrick Sullivan’s location has been beautifully renovated and appears to be ready for a new occupant.

There are a couple of other locations of Mango’s Decor and Company. One opened in Chattanooga a couple of months ago and another at 309 S. Northshore in west Knoxville, opened in February. The one on Northshore is owned by Jennifer Smelser who co-owns the Central Street Location with Shawn Wise.

Shawn Wise, Mango's Decor and Co., Knoxville, October 2014

Shawn Wise, Mango’s Decor and Co., Knoxville, October 2014

Mango's Decor and Co., Knoxville, October 2014

Mango’s Decor and Co., Knoxville, October 2014

I met Shawn on a beautiful Knoxville afternoon and a week into the new store’s operations she was still unpackaging lamp shades and other pieces for her floor samples. She said it is like Christmas every day as new merchandise arrives for the new store. And Christmas has arrived, as well, as some Christmas decor is already in evidence. A large Christmas tree sits decorated and waiting hopefully beside the counter.

The counter itself is a story, as it was harvested from the soon-to-be re-developed John H. Daniel Building. Both buildings are owned by John Clark. Shawn was working for him when she first noticed the space she now occupies. She encouraged him to lease it to someone, but only after working Saturdays for her friend Jennifer at the west location of Mango’s did she consider leasing it herself. Matching up her love for home decor with this appealing space seemed like a perfect idea.

Mango's Decor and Co., Knoxville, October 2014

Mango’s Decor and Co., Knoxville, October 2014

Mango's Decor and Co., Knoxville, October 2014

Mango’s Decor and Co., Knoxville, October 2014

She took an unlikely path to this point. She grew up on the move as a part of a military family before landing in north Knox County where she’s now lived for over thirty-five years. She worked for many years as a management consultant for a medical company. After he experience in home decor retail, she quit her long-term job to open the new store. She said her husband, who works with the Knox Country Sheriff’s department has been very supportive of the venture.

Mango's Decor and Co., Knoxville, October 2014

Mango’s Decor and Co., Knoxville, October 2014

Mango's Decor and Co., Knoxville, October 2014

Mango’s Decor and Co., Knoxville, October 2014

The name of the store is derived from the fact that the wood used in making the furniture is harvested from the Mango tree. It’s actually an ecologically sound wood to use. The mango tree grows to sixty to one hundred feet tall. Growth stops at about twenty years and it stops producing fruit. Mango farmers in the past cut down the trees and let them rot while new trees were planted. Now the wood is used, meaning it doesn’t rot (which produces carbon dioxide), farmers have another source of income and endangered wood like teak is saved from being harvested in the wild. It is also a very durable wood.

Entrance to 111 N. Central Street, Knoxville, October 2014

Entrance to 111 N. Central Street, Knoxville, October 2014

Shawn Wise, Mango's Decor and Co., Knoxville, October 2014

Shawn Wise, Mango’s Decor and Co., Knoxville, October 2014

The store has a large selection of furniture and all the fabric on the furniture is made in the U.S. by the Mayo Furniture Company in Texas. A number of pieces can be personalized with different stains on the woods and other variations to suit the customer. The furniture and accessories represent a range of styles, many of which were selected with an urban aesthetic in mind. The store shares space in the building with the Melting Pot, Garrett Manry Massage Studio, and Fitness Studio 111. Their hours are Noon – 7:00 PM Monday through Friday and 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM on Saturday. Check them out and tell Shawn you read it here.

Zombies in the City, 2014

Zombie Walk, Knoxville, October 2014

It's that time of year, again. This past Saturday the Zombie Apocalypse descended on Krutch Park for the 2014 Knoxville Zombie Walk. If you like the macabre or if you just enjoy amazing make-up jobs, or if you suspect zombies might just be real, this … [Continue reading]

What Does It Take to Get Knoxville Riled? Metro Pulse?

Protest on Market Square Last Spring, Knoxville, 2014

This weekend marked the rally to support Metro Pulse and/or protest the actions of Scripps to cease its publication and layoff all its employees. Since the announcement last Wednesday passions have run high across the city and on Thursday Chris Irwin … [Continue reading]

The Downtown Knoxville Week Ahead (10/19 – 10/25/2014

Church Street at Sunset, Knoxville, 2014

If you see an event I've missed and you'd like to plug, please comment below or e-mail me (knoxvilleurbanguy@gmail.com) and I'll try to add it. The list may, accordingly, be expanded through the week. Staying true to the scope of the blog, I'll only … [Continue reading]