Sparky's Smokes Bacon and Talks Tutus, Part 2

Categories: Chef Interviews
rsz_sparkycoconut.jpg
Lee Klein
Coconut layer cake
In yesterday's gripping installment, we spoke with Kevin Kehoe and Hans Seitz, the chef/partners of Sparky's Roadside Barbecue in downtown Miami. Today, the conversation continues.

New Times: Not much comes out of a can here, right? I mean it's mostly home-cooked...

Kevin Kehoe: We make everything from scratch except the ketchup (Heinz) and the waffle fries.

Hans Seitz: We wanted to make honest food, that's really good, at honest prices.We smoke our own bacon for the beans, and make our own salt pork for the collard greens too. A lot of customers tell us we make collard greens better than their mom.

What about the five squirt bottles of different barbecue sauces on each table?

HS: We started with the traditional Sparky's sauce, and the apple-cider sauce, which is basically a Carolina sauce with vinegar and mustard, and the Hoisin BBQ sauce with lemongrass and ginger. Somebody came in and said 'What about sweet and spicy?' So we came up with the Habanero-Guava sauce.

What's in that fiery Hot Lava BBQ sauce?

HS: Roasted poblano peppers, jalapeños, habanero, and a bunch of other stuff. I had a garden and the garden went crazy with peppers, so I took all I could get and made a big pot of it; this stuff lingers around my house for years. It's in vinegar, so it doesn't go bad. And it's delicious.

KK: Except you gotta be out of the house when he makes it or you start crying and all.

There was some sort of story behind the coconut layer cake, a hefty slice of which I devoured last week.

HS: The girl next door, in the Tutu shop, makes cupcakes --

Tutu shop?

KK: Yes.That's the main thrust of [Tutu & Spice], not cupcakes --

HS: But we love her cupcakes, and we buy them daily. Last week she said "What would you do if I made a coconut cream cake [for Sparky's]?"

KK: That coconut cake is out of this world.

HS: We make everything else - brownies, pecan pie, apple-blueberry pie...

How many beers do you offer?

KK: We've got 28 beers... no, 27.

All microbrews?

HS: Yes, except we have Pabst. We didn't want any imports because we have great beers here in the United States, some really special microbrews. That was sort of the idea from the get-go: We're going to make all the food ourselves, and sell American beers. The idea was to make an American restaurant --

KK: In downtown Miami.

HS: We toy with the idea of us being like the United States Embassy. [They laugh.]

Have you tried other local barbecue joints?

KK: We used to go to People's a lot, but they were shut down.

HS: We went to Smoke'd. Not impressed. We went to Q, which is gone. Not impressed. Everyone raves about Tom Jenkins, but I haven't made it out there yet.

Is there anything you've picked up along the way, something you didn't know about before you started?

HS: Yeah, running our own restaurant. [They both let out hearty laughs.]

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Sparky's Roadside Barbecue

204 NE 1st St., Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

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