With eateries trying and failing to get through code restrictions on buildings, outside food trucks are bringing an answer for people who want to eat while visiting the heart of Lebanon, and the Spunky’s Saucy Dog hot dog stand is one of the first to bring local food back to the square.
Blair Greer and Craig McKinney started the Spunky Saucy Dog mobile concessions stand about four months ago, and they said the business has since taken off.
“The square has been very good to us,” Greer said. “We’ve had a lot of returning customers and several new ones.”
The menu of Spunky’s Saucy Dog is focused on Spunky’s Sauce, a meat sauce made from a more than 50-year-old family recipe that began with an eatery on the Lebanon Square.
Greer’s great-grandmother, Elma, worked at Long Dog Café in the early 1950s, making her own special sauce for the hot dogs. Elma’s daughter, Greer’s grandmother, kept the recipe alive long after the Long Dog Café closed.
Elma’s nickname was Spunky, and so Greer said the name Spunky Sauce was a natural fit for the meat sauce.
Spunky’s Saucy Dog’s menu has many family ties and is mostly homemade. Greer’s grandmother inspired the fried pies, and a specialty drink, Sweet Polly’s Punch, is named after her daughter, Pollyanna. The Frito chili pie also may soon get a catchy name from her son.
“We all get in the kitchen and we love to cook together. My husband does the homemade ice cream,” Greer said. The ice cream comes in strawberry banana, chocolate and vanilla, and fried pies are prominently peach but there may be chocolate and apple on special occasions.
The idea for the food truck came up in the family about a year ago. McKinney was welcomed to try Spunky’s sauce by Greer’s mother, his girlfriend.
“We were eating them, and I looked at Blair, and I looked at Blair’s mom and I said we got to do something with this. This is too good to be just strictly for family. We need to share the hot dog. Everybody kind of laughed at first,” McKinney said.
Greer said she had wanted to start a flexible business that allowed her to spend time with her children. She also works as a massage therapist on her own time.
“We didn’t really know what to expect in the beginning. We knew we wanted to start a food truck and now it’s just taken off,” Greer said.
The stand also has a canine mascot, Humphrey, who is pictured driving the van on the truck’s logo.
“The dog comes from my sister-in-law, Britney, who helps out at the stand sometimes,” Greer said. “His name is Humphrey and that’s the look we have on the truck. It looks just like him.”
Spunky’s Saucy Dog recently booked their first wedding, where they will cater for a wedding of about 40 people.
March marked the beginning for the food truck with visits to Lebanon Chemical near Don Fox Community Park. A woman involved with the Good Wheel Cruisers approached them about setting up on the square for their Saturday car show events.
“They were just tickled to death to have us here,” McKinney said. “We’ve been coming here most Saturday nights to their cruise-ins.”
Spunky’s Saucy Dog appears at many local events in Wilson County, including the recent Symphony on the Lawn event at Cumberland University and Relay for Life, among others. They plan to set up at the Wilson County Fair and the upcoming Rock the Block event on the Lebanon Square on June 29.
“We’ve done so well; it’s unbelievable,” McKinney said. “We’ve always said, as long as we have good quality food, keep that quality up, we’ll always have people come back and have consistency.”
To find where Spunky Saucy Dog will appear next, visit their Facebook page or find it on Instagram @SpunkysSaucyDog.