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Two new eateries for downtown

Two new eateries have arrived in downtown Jonesborough and while one is in a familiar setting, the other is unlike anything else in the area.
The former Dogwood Lane Restaurant now is home to the new Courthouse Café, while the about-to-open Bulldog’s Hot Dogs has a venue that will vary.
Charlie Showman, since retired from his nursing career, said having a little place like the Courthouse Café “has always been my dream.”
A lifelong Washington Countian, Showman said he opened the café after learning of Dogwood Lane’s departure.
“People around here in Jonesborough wanted it open so they would have a place to get a bite to eat and talk,” Showman said.
He opened his restaurant about two weeks ago and said he is already selling out of burgers every day.
“I think we have the best burger in East Tennessee,” Showman said. “It rates right up there with the big boys.”
Showman has even personalized his menu.
“I have one thing on the menu that I put there for one specific person, “ Showman said. “He told me what he ate for breakfast every morning and we added it. It’s a fried egg sandwich on toast with bacon on the side.”
Showman describes the menu as “simple” and said everything on it is homemade and fresh.
“We hand cut our own French fries and don’t use anything pre-prepared or frozen,” he said. “We put out good food at a reasonable price.”
The beef for the hamburgers is ground each day. Then there is the pimiento cheese and the chicken salad that Showman said his mother-in-law taught him to make, adding that he doesn’t plan to expand the menu until local produce comes in.
The Courthouse Café is open for breakfast and lunch, Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will have extended hours on Fridays for Music on the Square with a limited menu for hamburgers and hotdogs to go.
While Showman is fixing burgers and more, the second newest eatery in Jonesborough’s historic district is going to the dogs — literally.
At least that is the hope of Dean Chesnut, owner of the new mobile eatery, Bulldog’s Hot Dogs.
The former southwest Florida entrepreneur and retiree is open for business starting this week, offering “the dog of all dogs.”
Chesnut is no stranger to the business world.
“I ran a restaurant/deli and several other businesses in Florida,” he said.
While there, Showman also opened the first indoor shooting range, and had an embroidery and screenprinting business, the latter of which he brought to Jonesborough with him.
Taking his cue from big city hot dog carts, Chesnut said he will have a rolling stand that features a “big old happy bulldog leaning on a fire hydrant with water spraying out and a hotdog in one paw.”
“It will look something like the stands in Chicago and New York, but of course we will have a historic Jonesborough color scheme,” Chesnut said. “I can move [the cart] around by hand or I can stop in front of a business.”
Chesnut’s fare is primarily hot dogs — with drinks, chips and brownies offered, too. But the variety of dogs and their clever names are likely to have patrons grinning.
The “Pup” is a plain hot dog; the “Shaggy Dog” is a slaw dog. Ask for a “Muddy Dog” and you’ll get a hotdog drenched in chili. Chesnut has even named one of his dogs the “TC Dog”, after local musician Taylor Cochran of T.C. and the High Road Band.
Then there’s the “German Shepherd,” which is loaded with kraut, and the “Chow Dog,” presented with Tennessee chow chow.
Chesnut is trying to make eating at Bulldog’s “real affordable,” with a meal costing under $5. He plans to be open five or six days a week from about 10 3 p.m. and will also be available for special events and catering.
“I like being around people,” Chesnut said. “Jonesborough is an All-American town and what’s more American than a hot dogs?”