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Dogs to Go: Couple takes restaurant initiative on the road

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By Goose Lindsay

Kingston residents Rusty and Jayme Summers have dreamed of owning a restaurant for years.

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Now that dream is, in a way, becoming a reality as the husband-and-wife duo recently purchased a food truck, Vol Dogs.

“We’ve wanted to do a restaurant, but this opportunity presented itself and it’s a lot more affordable,” Jayme said after Vol Dogs served lunch at Kingston’s Michael Dunn Center on Friday.

The Summerses purchased Vol Dogs earlier this month, but running a business is nothing new. The couple owns Outdoor Oasis Landscaping, which Dusty primarily operates, and Spring Green Lawn Care, which is run primarily by Jayme.

“I’ve been landscaping for about six years, but felt like it was time to do something I wanted to do,” Jayme said. “The landscaping business kind of runs on its own now and doesn’t take much babysitting anymore.”

Jayme says the thought of doing something in the food service industry came about while she was in college.

“I worked at an ice cream shop in college, and it was my favorite job ever because everybody came in happy,” she said. “Ever since then, I’ve wanted to open an ice cream shop, but it’s seasonal like what we’re already doing. We can start with this and eventually do ice cream.”

Interacting with customer at the ice cream shop is similar to the experience she has noticed so far with Vol Dogs, and in a way it’s better than a restaurant.

“You’re in a new environment and you get to see new people everyday,” Jayme said. “I love the customer interaction and love to see the look on their face. I wouldn’t be able to do that as much if we owned a restaurant.”

Hot dogs are the top seller at Vol Dogs, but that isn’t the only item on the menu.

“We have hot dogs, barbecue sandwiches, nachos and hamburgers,” Jayme said. “We’re looking at doing desserts and possible other items.”

So far Vol Dogs has been a success for the Summerses.

“Everyone says they love it so far,” Jayme said. “We’ve been to some different places and everyone has asked us to come back. That’s the best compliment we can have.”

Jayme says the family operates the food truck usually two days a week, primarily in Knoxville and Oak Ridge, although she says they will be returning to Kingston’s Michael Dunn Center in August.

Vol Dogs is also active on weekends. She said Vol Dogs will be at Midway’s Narramore Farm’s Pumpkin Patch this fall.

For more information about Vol Dogs, please call Jayme Summers at (865) 323-1389, visit their Facebook page or email voldogsknox@gmail.com

“Our schedule is up every week on Facebook,” she said. “It will have our locations and any menu updates.”