We stopped into a hidden gem in the heart of Clarksville a while back and were completely surprised at what we found. Did you know there was a very cultured African market here in Clarksville? The Dagan African Market is right off Fort Campbell Blvd and is a family-owned operation by Adolph Dagan.
About Adolph Dagan
Adolph, originally from Togo, moved to America (IL) and joined the US Army. The Army brought him to Ft. Campbell where he served his term and got out in 2009. He loved serving his country but felt it was time to move on and start a new venture.
After getting out of the military in 2009, Adolph got a job as a teacher (teaching French) at Rossview Middle School and worked on getting his college degree during this time.
Since 2004, even before the Army, it has always been his dream to open his own business so he can bring some of his own country to Clarksville. However, he just didn’t feel the timing was right.
After years of debating back and forth, he decided to pull the trigger in August of 2019 because he saw an increase in the demand for an African Market. Previously, everyone had to drive all the way to Nashville for this!
About the Market
The Dagan African Market has so much more than you may think from the outset. They are loaded with real, organic foods from all over the world.
Everything from Yams, to authentic Clothing from Togo & Ghana, to organic toothpaste (from neem), raw honey, essential oils, and so many different types of leaves and spices!
One of the top selling items is actually a product that makes you *gain* weight. It’s called “epidoma” and Adolph said he cannot keep it in stock!
The thing that surprised me the most was just how *raw* everything was. It’s certainly a store that stocks its shelves with only the best, quality ingredients. You can get all types of raw fish, goat, chicken, and other meats from their huge stock of freezers.
The Dagan African Marketing is located at 1681 Fort Campbell Blvd, Suite D, here in Clarksville and is looking to expand in the future! Go check them out and tell them we sent you!
Bethlehem Mexican Bakery is a family-operated bakery in Clarksville, right outside of Ft. Campbell. They’ve been serving the city of Clarksville since 2011 and offer a huge variety of foods, desserts, and cultural snacks.
We stopped in here to learn more about the business and family and were pleasantly surprised at just how much was packed into this building!
Where it all started
The Bethlehem Mexican Bakery originally started in 2011 in a small ~1800 square feet office in Clarksville. Diego says, “It was small, but it was perfect. We made it work, opened up shop, and were so happy when we made our first sale of $70!”
Since then, the family has had to upgrade the building to accommodate the increase in demand!
The current location, which they moved into in 2016, is about 3,000 square feet. Inside, you’ll find a nice dining area, shelves upon shelves of pastries and desserts, and a huge menu detailing all the different foods they serve, including empanadas and burritos!
Diego and his family love serving the Clarksville area and specifically outside of Ft. Campbell because the culture is so diverse in the area.
What makes them unique
Bethlehem bakery, staying true to their culture, makes everything from scratch–with many of the recipes being passed down through multiple generations! Diego, one of the two sons who actively work in the business, walked us around and gave a grand tour of the shop!
The baked-goods in this unique bakery tend to be less sweet than what you may be used to in a traditional American bakery. For this reason, customers from all over the map come in to get a taste of the not-so-sweet, but still-so-delicious desserts.
The majority of the desserts and pastries are under $1.50 and Diego says that you cannot beat that price. Since everything is handmade from scratch every morning, he can tell you every ingredient that goes into each and every pastry.
Go check them out!
Bethlehem Mexican Bakery is a Christian bakery (hence the name “Bethlehem”) and their family whole-heartedly believes in the golden rule and treats every customer like family. Be sure to stop by their bakery and tell them we said hey!
We are so ready for all the new opportunities this new year and this new decade has in store! Today’s #FeatureFriday business is pushing ahead towards an exciting new chapter for their company. This week we visited Smokin Chikin at their Tiny Town Road location. MY, OH MY! What a treat that was!
The exciting news is that they will soon have a second location off Exit 11! Sango, get ready to grab some Smokin Chikin! The new location is much larger and will be command central for operations. Smokin Chikin currently offers catering services, even preparing meals for large companies like LG and Google. The larger space will allow them to expand their catering to even larger groups. Need a caterer? Consider Smokin Chikin for satisfying meals that are far from ordinary.
A common misconception is that they are a BBQ establishment. While they DO have BBQ chicken on the menu, they have an entire WORLD of enticing flavors and recipe choices in their rotisserie chicken and sides, and their menu items have been embraced by the community and visitors alike.
Smokin Chikin is co-owned and operated by two families, Roger Khan and his wife, Sarika, and Mohsun Ghias, his wife, Oneeba Mohsun. Each one has a different background and brought their own unique contributions to help build their dream of having a restaurant that provided fresh, international fusion flavored dishes to Clarksville.
Both families share the same values of the importance of family and hospitality, and it shows in every encounter and every bite. When you walk in the door, it’s like stepping into their homes, you become their guest, not just a customer.
Once the idea was birthed, it took about two years to bring the dream to fruition. In April, 2014, they opened their restaurant located at 1820 Tiny Town Road, Suite A, to their guests.
The menu is chock full of choices. Don’t know what to try? Just ask the staff for a recommendation based on your likes, dislikes and dietary needs. Helpful markers on the menu also help you decide. A small green “V” for vegetarian friendly items, and a handy spiciness indicator beside each of the marinade flavors. They offer a kid’s menu as well.
You could eat there every day and not have the same flavored chicken for days…unless you WANT to. Their bone-in chicken comes in several portion sizes, including wings and whole chickens. Try the boneless pulled chicken by itself or in a pita sandwich.
We tried the Caribbean BBQ chicken that’s slathered in a sweet and sticky house-made BBQ sauce. You will be licking your fingers..ok..your entire hands probably, after digging into this stuff!!
Two surprisingly scrumptious sides were the Street Corn Salad and the Hand-Chopped Tabouli Salad.
The Street Corn Salad is a Mexican-style side made with corn, black beans, red onions and topped with crisp tortilla strips. The tabouli salad is made with chickpeas, cucumbers, tomatoes, chopped parsley, bulgur wheat, and red onions, with an ultra-light dressing, and was so refreshing, cooling and palate cleansing, we just couldn’t stop eating it. Try it with one of the spicier marinades for a bit of relief from the heat before you go back for more.
What makes Smokin Chikin stand out is the careful thought process they go through before even trying new recipes on their guests. One of their main goals is to provide delicious scratch-made food that is a fresher, healthier option than some other places have because they don’t rely on prepackaged or processed foods.
Roger and Oneeba say that if they can’t make a dish the right way, from scratch, then they just won’t do it at all. They would rather put their resources into things that matter, like having healthier choices, even on splurge foods like mac & cheese.
Their new tagline reflects that priority. “We put the chicken scratch in scratch kitchen.” We love that!
Roger says, “It’s important to get the food right and to get the service right, and everything else will just be a byproduct of doing what’s right.”
Still not sure if this is the place for you? Head over and taste the food, samples are on the house. But don’t just take our word for how great they are.
Check out some of the reviews on TripAdvisor, Google and Yelp. They’ve also won numerous awards year after year from TripAdvisor, and have been on various charts for Clarksville’s Favorite, like Favorite Local Eatery, Favorite Place for a Quick Lunch, Favorite Family Restaurant and Favorite BBQ.
Smokin Chikin offers dine in, carry out, online ordering with curbside or in-store pick-up and catering. Their phone number 931-896-2014. Find them on their website where you can check out the menu, Facebook and Instagram @smokinchikin.
Hey, Clarksville! Hope you’re having a great week. Do you have any plans for the weekend? Looking for a place to hang out and enjoy a nice cold one? I’ve got a great company I wanted to tell you guys about in this week’s #FeatureFriday.
Family, fun, friends. Caring, community, craftsmanship. The Tennessee Valley Brewing Company has the distinction of being Clarksville’s first nanobrewery, and I’d like to tell you a few reasons why they are also one of Clarksville’s favorite places to grab a brewski.
The owners, Wendy and Eric Brannstrom, aren’t originally from the area, but they have come to call Clarksville home, and have embraced the community like family. Their heart for the community and giving back is evident in just about everything they do, from their work they do with local charities like Big Brothers & Big Sisters, YAIPaks, Manna Cafe, Bikers Who Care and the United Way, to donating their spent hops and grains to local farmers to use for feed for their animals.
They epitomize the idea of keeping it local, right down to the water they use in their brewing. Eric uses Clarksville tap water and the only thing he does to prepare the water he uses in his brews is to filter out the chlorine.
The Tennessee Valley Brewing Company has something for just about everyone with 10 beers on tap, from stouts to ambers to reds to nut browns, just to name a few. Some are their base beers they always have available and they round out the options with special batches of a few seasonal beers throughout the year. Some see operating a nanobrewery as an opportunity to experiment with different types and flavors of beers since they are already crafting their beer offerings in smaller batches, and Eric and Wendy are adventurous when it comes to creating new flavors.
They also offer three ciders year round for those with gluten sensitivities looking to enjoy an alcoholic beverage. The canned ciders come from Gypsy Circus Cider Company, Tennessee’s original cidery, located in Kingsport, Tennessee.
So whether you consider yourself a beer aficionado, a craft brew connoisseur, you want to expand your beer drinking palate, or you don’t have a clue what to order, Eric, Wendy or their beerista, the magnificent Maggie, can help you out.
Want to know what beer to pair with your favorite food? They are a wealth of information in that arena as well. They even offer sample size or flights of beer if you want to sample several different beers.
Eric and Wendy both have ties to the Army and their unique beers do too. Eric was asked to make a beer especially for the 5th Special Forces Group stationed here at Fort Campbell, and he was more than happy to oblige.
A group of people from the unit were sitting around, enjoying some cold ones and discussing what they wanted in the beer made especially for them. As they discussed how they wanted it to taste, they agreed upon a name for their request…”Snake Eater.”
Rumor has it that those in Special Forces have to kill a snake and eat it as part of their survival training. I don’t know whether that is true, but Wendy says Snake Eater is their best selling beer. Another crowd favorite is the Screaming Eagle, specially requested by a Command Sergeant Major out of the 101st Airborne Division.
One of Eric’s specially crafted brews is called “Pachyderm Punch” after the 6th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 101st Airborne Division who are nicknamed “Pachyderms” because their mission is to do the heavy lifting, like pachyderms can, with their Ch-47F Chinook helicopters. An interesting fact about this beer is that Eric uses Chinook hops in this beer. How cool is that??? So creative!
The Tennessee Valley Brewing Company has become a favorite local hangout for a number of reasons. Eric and Wendy have created a fun place to enjoy great beer with friends and family. If you visit the taproom you’ll know why. There is a spirit of comradery that fills the air, a spirit of belonging. I think that is something that is important, especially in a military town where friends and family are often deployed or transferred.
There are a couple of things you notice about the decor of the taproom. One is a large wooden flag mounted on the wall near the front of the taproom. The flag is surrounded by unit patches given to Eric and Wendy by their patrons. It’s obvious by the sheer number of unit patches surrounding the flag that the community has a special love for Wendy and Eric, and not just because of their beer.
Another decor standout is the collection of beer mugs hanging on the wall behind the bar and along the hall. There are 200 mugs in all, each with their own number. For $50 you can become a member of the Mug Club. Mug Club membership includes a 20-ounce handcrafted pottery mug, which hangs on the wall, ready and waiting for you to come in and enjoy your favorite beer, or try a new one, at a discounted price, 20 ounces for the price of a pint, 16 ounces.
Mug Club members also get notified first and get first dibs at upcoming events and new beers making their debut. The membership is good for one year, at which point you have the option of purchasing a newly designed mug so you can continue to enjoy the other perks as well. Last year’s mugs are red and black, the colors of Austin Peay State University. The upcoming year’s mugs will be yellow and black, the colors of the Nashville Predators hockey team.
In a military town that has a highly transitory population, it’s inevitable that at some point a Mug Club member will be deployed. Mugs belonging to deployed personnel have a small flag sticker placed on them to signify the owner’s status. Here’s another place where the feeling of belonging comes into play. Customers can purchase wooden nickels to place inside the mugs of deployed members, like they’re saying “Hey, let me buy you a drink.” When the deployed member returns, they can use the wooden nickels to purchase a beer or two, or if they have several coins, they can “buy” a beer for their friends if they choose.
There are also pewter mugs with engraved names hanging on the walls. Pewter mugs are for those special people who have supported Wendy and Eric along the way to help get their business up and running. As a special “Thank you,” to those people, they become permanent members of the Mug Club. They enjoy the reduced price craft beers and enjoy first dibs and notifications, but they don’t have to pay the yearly fee.
And if you’re celebrating something, or just feeling the urge to be a bit different, you can drink out of the Drinking Horn. It’s just what it sounds like…a beautifully engraved horn…and you can ask to drink out of it.
Tennessee Valley Brewing Company keeps an active social calendar, with fun stuff to do all week long. One crowd favorite is Trivia Tuesdays. Local radio personality, Joe Padula, keeps things interesting with his own brand of humor as he emcees this fast-paced, hilarious game night.
They also have comedy nights, live music, and themed parties throughout the year. Ring in 2020 at their Roaring 20s themed New Year’s Eve party. No cover charge, but free tickets are going fast.
The Tennessee Valley Brewing Company, is located at 2088 Lowe’s Drive, Suite H, Clarksville, TN 37040 in the small strip mall area next to Kroger and China King Buffet. Their hours of operation are Monday-Thursday from 3:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m., Friday-Saturday from 12:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m., and Sunday from 12:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. Their phone number is
We hope you have had a fabulous week! Today’s #FeatureFriday post brings us to The Food Initiative Farm, located on 12 beautiful acres, complete with a creek and woods, and chickens, goats and pigs!
The Food Initiative is an organization, run by Michael and Regina Hampton, that is working to enrich the lives of young people through agriculture. Every summer, they take on 40 interns, ages 14-17 years old from Montgomery County and Fort Campbell. They also bring back six staff interns to serve as leaders with each new group. During the summer, the interns work the land, learning to grow healthy foods. The Food Initiative goes beyond that though in helping them learn about the food system, nutrition, meal planning, healthy sleep patterns, money management and communication, with the goal of creating personal and social change through hard meaningful work.
During the Spring and Fall, the farm is open for field trips and farm tours, and they welcome volunteers as well. Just call to get yourself or your group scheduled! The food grown at The Food Initiative is sold at the Clarksville Downtown Market during the summer months, and they also donate portions to local hunger relief organizations.
The Food Initiative is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that depends on community support and grants. They have a FUN fundraiser coming up on April 27th, from 11am to 3:30, at the farm. At The Hog Roast Hootenanny, there will be a hog roast, yummy side dishes, and desserts, including a s’mores station. There will be live music, a cash bar, and tons of fun for the littles as well. We will link the event in the comments so that you can get your tickets!
Clarksville is lucky to have The Food Initiative in our community, making it better, one life at a time! Be sure to thank them by spreading the word! Share this post, spend a day volunteering on the farm, donate, get a ticket to the Hootenanny… any of these help! Have a great week Clarksville! See you next week!- Faith (Faith Doggett Photography)