**NOTE** This episode was recorded in December, 2019.

During the Coronavirus crisis, the Cuban Coffee Queen is open from 7AM – 3PM for takeout and still delivering all of Key West up to Cow Key Bridge.

In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with head barista and manager, Irena Dalton at the iconic Cuban Coffee Queen.

We talk about how the brand began, and how they are keeping locals and Key West tourists caffeinated on a daily basis.

More on the Cuban Coffee Queen

“One day in Cuba, I met a lady who made the best coffee and Cuban toast.

She told us stories and showed me how to make a real cafe con leche. I will never forget the Cuban coffee Queen.”

Website: https://www.cubancoffeequeen.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cuban_coffee_queen_/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CubanCoffeeQueenKeyWest

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KeyWestCoffee

Waterfront (original location!)
284 Margaret Street
Key West, FL 33040
Phone: 305.292.4747
Pick-up only

Downtown (corner of Southard and Duval)
5 Key Lime Square
Key West, FL 33040
Phone: 305.294.7787
Delivery, Pick-up

Clinton Square Market 
291 Front Street #6
Key West, FL 33040
Phone: 305.922.2896
Pick-up only

**NOTE** This episode was recorded in November 2019 and published on my other podcast, The Songwriters Podcast.

In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with singer, songwriter, guitarists, storyteller, sailor and road warrior, Scott Kirby.

We talk about his long career as a musician, and where he goes for writing inspiration, and how a little bit of luck took him a long way.

More on Scott

Website: https://www.scottkirby.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/scottkirbykeywest/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/scottkirby.keywest

Singer, songwriter, guitarist, storyteller, sailor and road warrior are all words that aptly describe Scott Kirby. Writing songs for a new CD, performing 150 live shows a year throughout the US and Canada, and holding down the stage at his own club—Key West’s Smokin’ Tuna Saloon—keep the barnacles off this modern-day troubadour.

A creative lyricist and accomplished finger-style acoustic guitarist with an expressive voice, Kirby describes himself as a direct descendant of the ’70s singer/songwriter movement. His very first 45 was a Beatles record, and he came of musical age listening to James Taylor and other great songwriters of that era. He has never received any formal musical training but often credits Taylor with teaching him how to play the acoustic guitar. “If it weren’t for the hundreds of solitary hours in my room in Concord, New Hampshire, with a guitar and a James Taylor book, I never would have learned to play,” says Kirby. Speaking of New Hampshire and musical influences, let’s not forget fellow New Hampshire native Tom Rush who was taking the folk scene by storm in Kirby’s formative years. Coincidentally, Kirby connected with both of these artists in Key West 30 years later, which is a whole other story.

After a few years in high school bands and a stint in his early 20s as a bass guitarist with a group, Kirby drifted away from music and became immersed in a career in politics: managing campaigns, writing and producing radio and TV ads, and overseeing the office of a leader in the New Hampshire legislature. He was also guitarless for eight years! In 1988, however, after tiring of the political rat race and the length and severity of New England winters, he bought a new guitar, relentlessly practiced his chops, and planned his escape. Six months later Kirby was living in Key West and performing five nights a week on a balmy beach facing the Gulf of Mexico.

Kirby started writing songs after some inspirational late-night words from legendary songwriter Shel Silverstein and further encouragement from Peter Mayer, who had just joined the Coral Reefer Band. A year later he found himself recording his first CD, Too Damn Yankee, in Jimmy Buffett’s Shrimpboat Sound Studio with Peter and Jim Mayer and Roger Guth. “This was a very lucky break for me, but I was in a bit over my head,” says Kirby. “Peter, Jim and Roger were incredibly patient with me and it was a fantastic learning experience.”

Between 1993 and 2006, Kirby continued to write new material and recorded four more CDs with Key West producer/engineer Dan Simpson. In 2008 luck struck again when famed drummer/producer Russ Kunkel offered to produce Kirby’s Row Me Home CD at his studio in Los Angeles. “Next thing I know I’m cutting my songs in the Hollywood Hills with Russ, bassist Leland Sklar and guitarist Dean Parks and feeling like the luckiest guy in the world.”

Speaking of luck, Kirby’s wistful ballad “Lucky Enough” struck a chord with listeners on Sirius/XM Radio Margaritaville, which exposed his music to more markets around the country and led to his current touring schedule through 35 states each year. He continues to receive regular airplay on the station.

Kirby joined a group of friends in 2011 to open the Smokin’ Tuna Saloon, a 200-seat bar and music venue in Key West where Kirby performs often in winter months. The Tuna is also host to the Key West Songwriter’s Festival. The festival is in its 20th year and has exploded into the largest event of its kind in the country, featuring more than 150 songwriters every year.

In 2013 Kirby released his seventh CD, Sol Searching, a collaboration with producer/engineer/musician Lew London. “Lew was great to work with as he’s so multi-talented,” says Kirby. “He performed for years with Steve Goodman and is such a fine songwriter in his own right that he really understands how to build a sound around acoustically based songs.”

Scott  Kirby’s latest CD, Chasing Hemingway’s Ghost, was recorded with and produced by Matt and Andy Thompson in their studio in Nashville and released in 2017.

When it comes to songwriting, Kirby respects authenticity and counts on everyday life and his coastal roots for much of his inspiration. “I don’t wake up every day thinking about writing the next commercial hit,” says Kirby. “Songwriting for me is about telling stories, expressing emotions, and commentary on things I may find funny or absurd.”

Over the years Kirby has shared the stage with some of his favorite artists: Carole King, Jimmy Buffett, Livingston Taylor, Tom Rush, Mac McAnally, Peter Mayer and others. When not on the road or performing in Key West, Kirby splits his time between Livingston, Montana, and the coast of New Hampshire where he can often be found sailing, a lifelong passion of this descendant of Newfoundland fishermen.

Yes, Scott Kirby is—as he readily admits—lucky enough.

This episode was recorded months before COVID-19 happened, and Social Distancing was the new catchphrase.

I spoke with their team today and they wanted to let you know that they are OPEN FOR BUSINESS from 12pm – 8pm every day for TAKE OUT ONLY during the crisis.

Location: 1105 Duval Street, Key West, Florida

In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with Robin Bartley, the head ice cream maker.

We talk about the love of sweet delicious Key West ice cream, which puts a smile on everyone’s face 😎.

More on Flaming Crossing Ice Cream

Since 1987 Flamingo Crossing makes all its ice cream on the premises with the finest ingredients and is without doubt the best ice cream in Key West.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/flamingo_crossing

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/flamingocrossing.keywest/

This episode is a first for me. As some of you may know, I record these episodes months in advance and have collected 6 months’ worth of podcasts to put out.

With times like this, I reached out to Scott Atwell, the Executive VP & CEO of the Key West Chamber of Commerce to bring you as many helpful tips as we can for your business. We recorded this episode on April 2nd, and it is airing on April 3rd, so we can provide the best up to date information.

You may have heard my offering within this episode. Below is my email address, and if you don’t have a website or social medial account and you are a Key West business, I am offering my service free of charge to get you up and running.

You can email me at [email protected] and we can have a chat about getting you up and running.

Also, if you want to start your very own podcast, I put together a how-to guide found here: https://backyardsofkeywest.com/how-to-start-a-podcast/

Lastly, here is the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Application link I mentioned: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/

More on the Key West Chamber of Commerce

“The mission of the Greater Key West Chamber of Commerce is to serve its members and maintain and promote a viable economy for the businesses and working people of Key West”

For more information on how the Key West Chamber can help you or your business please contact them at 305-294-2587.

Website: https://www.keywestchamber.org

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/keywestchamber/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KeyWestChamber/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/keywestchamber

Small Business Help

A message from the Chamber:

There are four different programs featured in our recent newsletter, shared by SBDC. These include: 

• the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program
• SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
• SBA Payroll Support through the CARES Act
• Florida DEO Payroll Support Program. 

These loans are different than ones that have been offered in previous disasters.

For the recap of those programs shared in the newsletter, go to https://bit.ly/347v4o7

For the FAQ forwarded to us by US Senator Rick Scotts Office on the CARES Act, go to https://bit.ly/343eZjd

For the Coronavirus and a Business Assistance Program Information sheet provided by Monroe County, go to https://bit.ly/3aNcaFu

Several of our local financial institutions can assist their customers with SBA loans, although they are waiting for further instructions from the Federal Government you can reach out to your local bank for future guidance. 

First State Bank of the Florida Keys 
Existing First State Bank customers who would like to be contacted to apply as soon as the SBA program is released, can fill out a Contact Request Form on the Bank’s website www.KeysBank.com/sba-loan-contact-request

or contact Brad Lutz, AVP Commercial Lending,
at 305-293-7163 or [email protected]  
For non-SBA loans, call 305-296-8535.

BB&T, now Truist
Both new and Existing clients seeking CARES solutions should contact Jay W. Hall or Dale Bittner directly at:  
Jay W. Hall: 305-292-3832 or [email protected]
Dale Bittner: 305-292-3842 or [email protected]

Centennial Bank
Existing Customers can reach out to their loan officer directly; non-customers can contact Mark Todaro at 305-676-3145. 

IBERIABANK 
Existing Customers can contact the following:
Jacqueline Luhta, Business Development Officer, 305-809-8987
Trich Worthington, Group Branch Manager, 305-289-5820