Red’s Cafe: Second Mural in Downtown Sevierville

The second mural in downtown Sevierville seemed to pop up quickly and quietly in the summer of 2020 during the pandemic. Finally, I am finally writing about this interesting piece of public art downtown. Here is a look at the second mural in downtown Sevierville: Red’s Cafe.

According to local historian, Carroll McMahan, ‘Red’ Clevenger was named for his red hair. He grew up in Newport and worked for the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) before buying the Rainbow Inn Restaurant on Chapman Highway. Later, he married, sold his business, was drafted into the army during WWII and fought in the Battle of the Bulge, receiving a Purple Heart. Clearly, Red Clevenger lived quite a life up to that time!

McMahan tells how Red returned home and built a cafe on Bruce Street in downtown Sevierville. Click the link and scroll down to # 3 to read more of Carroll McMahan’s stories about Red Clevenger, his kindness, generosity—and a keen sense of humor. It is so appropriate that this local citizen was memorialized on the second mural in downtown Sevierville. Here is a link to Carroll McMahan’s writing about Red Clevenger.

The Red’s Cafe mural in downtown Sevierville is facing the courtyard of the Appalachian Restaurant on Bruce Street. It is also located on the brick wall of Wanderlust Spa and Salon. This photo captures an interesting aspect of the mural, visible through the gazebo on Bruce Street.

Red’s Cafe depicts local businessman Paul “Red” Clevenger serving one of his famous hamburgers to a young child sitting at the counter. The child is Dolly Parton, who came to the cafe with her father and enjoyed Red’s special hamburgers during her youth.

Click this link from the Visit Sevierville Youtube webpage to hear Dolly tell the story herself.

In honor of this special place, Dolly added a Red’s Cafe eatery at her Dollywood theme park to memorialize one of her favorite places to eat in Sevierville. Everyone who has visited Dollywood since 1995 has strolled by Red’s Cafe in the Jukebox Junction area of the park. Naturally, the specialty at this Dollywood restaurant is hamburgers!

Visitors can read more information about Red Clevenger on the walls of Red’s Cafe in Dollywood. One story recounts the kindness of the cafe owner to families who would sometimes buy a hamburger and cut it in half for their younger children. In a generous move, Red would remark that the child looked “big enough to eat a whole burger by themselves” so he would throw an extra hamburger on the grill.

I was lucky to observe the artists in action on August 17, 2020. You can see the preliminary work and the ‘doodle grid’ that helps artists create murals on large areas.

The artists are from Asheville, North Carolina.

You can see more art from Smoky Mountain Mural Company on Instagram.

Here, the illustration of the young Dolly Parton begins to emerge on the mural. The artists usually begin a mural at night by projecting an image on the wall, but it did not work for this mural so they used a second technique called a ‘doodle grid.’ For that, the artists determined the area, designed a square grid by chalking out lines, drew the base prime image and circled them. The swirls and graffiti help to anchor the mural spaces visually, then the artists take another picture of the wall, use an overlay and mark the spacing of the subjects.

See the artists explain their process on the Visit Sevierville TikTok app page. Here is a link.

The Dollywood blog also has stories about Red and his cafe. You can see a picture of Red and his wife Lois in that article as well. Click the photo below to link to the Dollywood blog.

The mural had been finished for 11 months by the time that I visited again on July 17, 2021 when I visited the downtown Sevierville Farmer’s market to do some shopping. A favorite, the Sevierville Cruze Farm store had a table set up with milk and ice cream. One of the Cruze Farm helpers was dressed in the unique Cruze Farm dress so I asked if I could take her picture in front of the mural and they kindly obliged. This cute young lady posed with cup of ice cream as if to to toast Dolly, Red Clevenger, and a favorite place to eat in downtown Sevierville decades earlier.
It was perfect.

There are now three murals located on Bruce Street: two outdoor murals and one mural inside 10 Realty. Bruce Street is certainly an exciting place to explore art and more. See you out and about in Sevierville.

10 Realty / Gallery 10 Art Gallery in Downtown Sevierville

A new space has opened in downtown Sevierville that combines a real estate office with an art gallery. Located in the previous Crust and Crumb bakery location at 118 Bruce Street, 10 Realty offers local artists a place to display their work in a gallery enviroment. If you are in the downtown area from 9-5 during the week, you really need to walk in and see this unique space! Here is a quick view.

The focal point of the room is a beautiful mural of Sevier County with local icons, painted by local artist Crystal Lynn.

This is significant because it is the third mural painted in downtown Sevierville. I am working on a story about this mural soon as it deserves a story all its own.

The wall spaces in 10 Realty make a perfect display area.

Randy Bable, the owner of 10 Realty, had a vision for his office to sell real estate, to serve local artists, and to provide a community space.

The interior communicates an upscale, outdoorsy vibe. Make note: Randy Bable made the table that you see on the right. It is an amazing piece of furniture!

Every space is well used. Each frame seems to be perfectly placed!

Each piece of art is accompanied by a QR code with information about the artist and the work. Just open your phone camera and place it close to the QR symbol to open the information. ( Wouldn’t you like for someone to come to your home to hang your pictures with such perfect spacing?)

10 Realty offers art and work spaces. Follow their Facebook page to keep up to date on future activities. For example, there are going to be some painting classes very soon. Here is a link to the Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/10Realty/

Certainly, 10 Realty will be an asset in downtown Sevierville area with all it offers to the community. Indeed, it is good to have art and artists back on Bruce Street!

See you out and about!

Mapco: A New Place for Gas, Snacks, and Coffee in Sevierville

Weigels, Pilot, and Sheetz are my preferred gas stations, especially for coffee and drinks. That being said, I would not ordinarily write about a new gas station in town—unless it was special. I had heard some interesting things about the new Mapco station that just opened in front of Publix in Sevierville. This new gas station has some special amenities that make it worth a stop and now make it officially ‘my favorite gas/coffee stop’ in Sevierville.

First, the address is 730 Winfield Dunn Parkway in Sevierville.

The coffee area is excellent. The prices are comparable to other places. I like the ‘select- and- grind beans- then brew’ type machines. Chilled creamer is nice. Chilled coffee is an option as well.

There is an extensive assortment of adult beverages that are chilled and ready to go. I found the prices comparable to local grocery store prices. You can cool off in the walk in cooler.

You can probably find almost any drink that you like in the coolers.

I was extremely impressed with the machine that creates drinks using robotics. It also cleans itself. Feeling thirsty now.

Grab-and-go snacks offer variety. There were many healthy options too—more than I usually see in other places.

Free Wi-Fi and a variety of chargers are available to customers.

Finally… time for the best thing at Mapco…

…a dog park in the back of the station. This is excellent for pet owners!

All in all, Mapco is an excellent new business to open in Sevierville and I know that I will stop there frequently to get coffee and other sundries. It is on the right side of the road to serve visitors and locals alike as they enter town. When you get a chance, come visit Mapco and see for yourself. I’ll see you at the coffee machine! Sevi