Larry Chillinsky is best known as the “Hot Dog Man” on the local Courthouse Square.
For four years, he has been the man who braved rain, sleet, snow and heat to provide visitors to the Bradley County Courthouse Square area a treat.
Only the best products are served with pride by the vendor, who has quite a background in the food industry.
Originally from sunny San Diego, Chillinsky packed up and moved his family to Tennessee more than 18 years ago.
He worked for a company in Etowah, then decided after the company closed operations to go into business.
“I just wanted to work for myself,” Chillinsky said.
“It took a little bit, because I had to find something I could do,” he added.
Chillinsky has prepared foods in a number of restaurants during his career.
He also prepared meals daily for some 200 residents in a California retirement community. He provided two meals per day to the residents.
From steakhouses to fast foods and even working as a short-order cook, Chillinsky learned his way and realized quality of product was a key to success.
He also made breakfast at the Los Angeles Fairgrounds and tens of thousands of Philly cheese steak sandwiches.
So, how did he get into the hot dog business?
“I saw a cart for sale in Chattanooga, and it finally came together,” said Chillinsky.
Prior to purchasing his dog stand, Chillinsky was a disc jockey, providing music at parties and weddings.
Not a fan of hip-hop or rap music, he got out of that when music styles and tastes changed.
Chillinsky’s hobbies include collecting and repairing video game machines — some vintage.
He and his family also have a new venture in the works.
The city of Charleston has opened its arms and welcomed Chillinsky’s talents to the community.
“It has surprised me greatly,” he said.
Lilly’s sits on Highway 11 [Hiwassee Street], just before the bridge heading north into Calhoun.
Pizza, barbecue, nachos and cheese, chili and other sandwiches and sides — and of course, a variety of fresh, quality hot dogs — are being served.
“I still have the cart and plan on being at the Courthouse Square on certain days,” Chillinsky said.
What is the most popular dog on the streets of Cleveland?
“The chili-cheese with slaw,” he said.
Inside Lilly’s, it is evident that Chillinsky likes his vintage video-game machines.
He will hand the children who visit Lilly’s handfuls of quarters to play the games.
“The people of Charleston have appreciated what we have here so far,” Chillinsky said.
He actually opened the establishment in mid-December.
“It has been great every day,” he said.
Looking into the future, Chillinsky wants to make his new venture a family hangout where the kids and adults alike can have a good time, good food and entertainment.
“I want to make this place somewhere everyone can come and enjoy,” Chillinsky said.
“My greatest reward is having someone say good things about what you are doing. I like honest opinions and look at them as positive input,” he added.
“So far, I have new people walking through the door every day, and those who liked the hot dogs on the Courthouse Square and the residents of Charleston have also been repeat customers,” Chillinsky said.
He plans on keeping the downtown Cleveland hot dog cart going on a limited basis as the new venture continues to grow.