Knoxville Creative - Work, Play, Live - Volume 3

Meet Dale Mackey. Dale is a wife, entrepreneur, and distinguished pie maker along with many other things. I first had one of Dale's fried pies while at Rhythm and Blooms fest. They were delicious, needless to say. If you ever see the truck, make sure to grab every single thing on the menu. You will thank me later. Besides owning and running the food truck, she and her husband recently opened The Central Collective, mixed use creative space that encompasses a commissary kitchen, photo studio, and event space. I had so much fun interviewing her and learning about her life!


Name: Dale Mackey

Age: 31

Dale's Fried Pies Mobile Trailer

Dale's Fried Pies Mobile Trailer

How long have you lived in the Knoxville area?:  8 years

Were you born/raised in Knoxville?: [No] Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois.

What is your occupation and where do you work?: Owner at Dale's Fried Pies and Co-Owner of The Central Collective

The Central Collective ( 923 N Central St, Knoxville, TN 37917)

The Central Collective (923 N Central St, Knoxville, TN 37917)

What is your favorite thing about your job?: I never get bored. Between making and selling pies, talking with clients and collaborators, planning events, marketing and promoting both businesses and keeping up with administrative duties like budgeting and website updates, I get to exercise all the different parts of my brain. My favorite event to plan is the Central Collective's monthly Good Sport Night, where attendees buy a ticket to an event without knowing what it is. They show up at the designated time, and we surprise them with something fun. So far we've done everything from a historic walking tour with Jack Neely to a live swing band with dance lessons.

Part of Shawn Poynter's Photographer Studio. Shawn is Dale's husband. 

Part of Shawn Poynter's Photographer Studio. Shawn is Dale's husband. 

Dale's KItchen in the CC

Dale's KItchen in the CC

What do you do for fun?: Since opening the Central Collective, my work life and social life have become pretty inextricably linked. Between our art exhibitions, yoga classes, pop-up dinners, workshops and other events, I spend a lot of my "free" time attending events here. But when I'm not at the Central Collective, I love simple things like cooking dinner with my husband Shawn and reading.

Do you have a unique/fun hobby?: After a recent Good Sport Night, where we had a live swing band and took swing dance lessons, I've started going to swing nights at the Laurel Theatre. For $3, you get swing lessons and then have the chance to practice them during an open dance. I'm still a newbie, but seeing all the fantastic dancers that attend is good motivation to keep coming.

What is your favorite outdoor activity?: Walking. Last year I set out to walk every greenway in Knoxville. There are still a few I haven't gotten to, but I've walked most of them.

If you had to pick one restaurant in Knoxville to eat at for the rest of your life, where would it be and why?: The Bistro at the Bijou. It's simple, delicious and fresh, and I like that the menu rotates to reflect food that's in season. Martha Boggs, the owner, was a huge help to me when I first started Dale's Fried Pies, so I have a lot of love for the place.

What is one thing you like about your home that you think is unique?: Our house is fairly small (around 1200 square feet), but it's got high ceilings, so it feels much roomier than that. I don't know if I can move into a house with lower ceilings ever again, because I've gotten so attached to how airy it feels. I also love our porch. My husband Shawn and I spend a good bit of our free time out there, reading, or cooking up new ideas, or hanging out with our friends.

Do you have any pets?: We have three cats: Olive, who's white and gray and super sweet, Duck, who's small and gray and doesn't have a tail (she was like that when we adopted her-- not sure if she was born that way or had an accident), and Roger, who is huge and acts like a dog and has an extra claw on each paw that look like thumbs.

Last but not least, what do you love about Knoxville?: SO MUCH! I first moved here to be with my then-boyfriend, now-husband after we were long distance for a bit. I told him that I would move here for one year and then we'd have to move back to Chicago, where I grew up. After about six months, I realized I really wanted to stay. That was eight years ago. I love the size- it's small enough that it's easy to get to know people and you can make your mark in a given field, but it's not so big that it's overwhelming. I think it's a really supportive place to be a small business owner. The cost of living is lower than many cities that don't have as much to offer. The urban wilderness is incredible. The local food scene is great, in no small part to The Market Square Farmers' Market and Nourish Knoxville. Mostly, though, there are just really incredible people here.