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From Bow Tie Chef to Just Dogs ATL to Creating The Legendary McDonough Hot Dog

Updated: 4 days ago

Just Dogs ATL

written by Dominque Huff

Gregory Dulac had it all.  From 2016 to 2018, DuLac’s Bow Tie Cafe was one of the early pioneers of the Atlanta Black Restaurant Scene.  The Atlanta Black Restaurant Scene has seen many concepts come and go before entities finally grabbed their footing and place within the regional culinary scene.  Many blacks who resided in the suburbs wanted to mirror concepts that many went to Virginia-Highland, Midtown, Buckhead, or Downtown Decatur for in areas such as West Cascade, Downtown College Park, Stonecrest, and the Southern Crescent–Clayton and Henry County. 

“There were a select few of us in the scene who didn’t want to be seen but worked,” he said. Lights and cameras are lovely, but to get to the money, we need people in seats eating and drinking.” After shutting down DuLac’s BowTie Cafe in September 2018, he became highly emotional and cut everything off from family, friends, and relationships.  “The only thing I was still committing to was being a father to my two children,” he recalled. “I did indeed disappear like everyone said I did.  I was embarrassed and ashamed.”

Closing a business is one of the hardest things an entrepreneur can ever do.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 20.8 percent of businesses fail within the first year, 40 percent within three years, 49.9 percent within five years, and 65.8 percent within ten years. “I took the closure personally.  I felt like I failed myself and others,” he recalled. “I felt I owed success to others and didn’t do it.”  He stated he had support along the way, but it could not cushion his internal pain of embarrassment. 

DuLac returned to Corporate America for a while and bounced around to make ends meet while rebuilding himself professionally.  While he admitted he wanted to continue the Dulac’s journey, there wasn’t a set timeframe or method for how that would continue until he came across Just Dogs ATL. “Just Dogs was a little gem in McDonough, and the previous owners had met their ceiling and were ready to change hands,” he said. “I wanted to take it up a notch.” The menu lives up to the restaurant's namesake: dogs with an ATL vibe. There’s the ATL Dog, 75 South, and Dirty Bird. Turkey is an option for those who want a different type of meat. 

Just Dogs ATL

While his previous venture did not have the grown-up and sexy vibe, DuLac is grateful to have walked back into entrepreneurship. In 2018, he stated he would be back, and now, six years later, he is still feeding McDonough-Henry County. 

In 2023, he earned the Judge’s Choice for Taste of Henry.  Just Dogs ATL is also a “Henry Eats” Superstar with a 4.9 rating on Google. And for McDonough’s 200th anniversary, Just Dogs ATL is rolling out a unique combination. 

“We wanted to do something to commemorate the city and pay homage. We asked on social media what speaks to McDonough, and we had some great combinations, which we will use as specials this year,” he said. I had one person who said we should put pimento cheese on a dog, and I said nothing says McDonough like pimento cheese.”

Just Dogs ATL

He played around with a variety of combinations to accompany the pimento cheese, so he added hot chili, onions, and tomatoes.  “I stopped at the tomatoes and onions. I considered adding bacon,” he said. But I didn’t look right, so we stopped at the tomatoes, onions, and pimento cheese. This is the McDonough dog!” And now another location is coming to Atlanta on Moreland Avenue. 

Just Dogs ATL 

1059 Meredith Park Drive 

McDonough, GA. 


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