If you have ever wondered what people do around here or wanted to know the story behind a restaurant, bar or local business, this is exactly why I created the Backyards of Key West Podcast.
So sit back, relax and enjoy as you learn the stories behind what makes Key West so magical. To listen from your computer, click on any of the episodes you want, or click on your favorite app below!
#52 - Social Media Talk with @visitkeywest influencer, Steven Dunbar
#51 - AMRI Sustainable Day Spa
In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with owners and mother-daughter powerhouse, Jasmine and Morgan.
We talk about how they got into the business, how they work together in a family business, and how their passion for the environment, spills into everything magical they do!
*A little note that this episode was recorded before COVID hit, but they are still open and living the dream!
#50 - The Spice & Tea Exchange of Key West
In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with owners Matt & Katie Wills of The Spice & Tea Exchange of Key West.
This episode was recorded in December of 2019 and I wanted to wait for them to be back open after the COVID shut down.
We talk about how they took a leap of faith to start a brand new business in Key West, how they work their family dynamic, and how a "little rub goes a long way 😎."
#49 - Matt's Stock Island Kitchen & Bar
In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with Steven, the food and beverage director for Matt's Stock Island Kitchen & Bar and the Salty Oyster Dockside Bar & Grill at The Perry Hotel.
We discuss how these two restaurants get all their amazing food, the incredible brunch deal, and what the heck a fishmonger is ;).
This episode was recorded many months ago and I'm happy to say that the brunch deal is still going on!
#48 - When Nature Calls with Under The Leaf Plant Shop
In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with Alex, the designer extraordinaire at Under The Leaf, located at The Art Shack on Stock Island.
We talk about how she had the guts to jump headfirst into living her passion, some "kill proof" plants, and how such a tiny little plant could bring so many people so much joy.
#47 - Living The Life at Paradise Restaurant
In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with Paradise Restaurant owner, Christian Velez.
This was recorded before the pandemic shut down, and I hope they get as busy again as they were during this interview!
This is one of the shortest episodes I've ever done because Christian was not only working the bar but helping take orders, serving food... this guy was really doing it all!
#46 - Conch Republic Seafood Company
In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with Casey Arnold of the Conch Republic Seafood Company.
We talk about the history of the historic building, all the food options, and their infamous happy hour.
Take note that this was recorded before the COVID lockdown, be as of June 5th, the bar at the restaurant will be open for business :)
#45 - Getting Back to Normal with French Bakery & Bistro, La Grignote
In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with chef and co-owner Babeth to discuss how the business was affected during the COVID-19 shutdown, how this family-owned business is surviving, and some tips on doing the same.
This is my first interview back after the shutdown and we laughed, shared stories, and I ate... a little too much!
#44 - Rescuing Bars all Over the World with Celebrity Bartender, Russell Davis
NOTE - this episode was recorded months before COVID-19 lockdown. I hope you enjoy this interview, and get ready for some new episodes soon, as Key West begins to open back up June 1st.
This episode Mark Baratto sits down with celebrity mixologist Russell Davis.
We talk about how Russell got into the business, how he rose up the bartender ranks, and how he because a celebrity Bar/Mixology expert for Spike TV's "Bar Rescue" and how he became "2012 Bartender of the Year."
#43 - Frita's Cuban Burger Cafe
NOTE - Here is another pre COVID-19 episode. I am happy to say that Frita's is back open and serve their delicious food.
In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with the owner of Frita's Cuban Burger Cafe, c
During this episode, we danced, we sang (well Marcia does) and I ate one of their famous Cuban Burger!
#42 - Talking Chops with the GM of Prime Steakhouse
In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with Aaron Pearlman, the General Manager of Prime Steakhouse Key West.
We talk about the restaurant's history, how they stay upscale, but with a relaxed island vibe, and how they keep their food consistently amazing in our tiny island paradise.
#41 - The Art of Photography with DE LA Gallery Co-Owner Jeff Rodriguez
In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with Master Framer, Jeff Rodriguez.
Jeff is the co-owner of DE LA Gallery, located in Key West, FL and Charleston, SC, AND the co-owner of Art Warehouse, located in Key West.
I visited Jeff at his Key West gallery where we talked about his wildly talented partner, photographer/artist Jorge de la Torriente, how they met, and how they turned a dream into a thriving business.
#40 - Getting Caffeinated with Cuban Coffee Queen
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.
#39 - Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist, & Storyteller Scott Kirby
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.
#38 - A Sweet Escape with Flamingo Crossing Ice Cream
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 😎.
#37 - The Status of Key West with Scott Atwell of the Chamber of Commerce
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.
#36 - Rodriguez Cigars with Danny Difabio
In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with a third generational owner of Rodriguez Cigars, Danny Difabio.
We talked about a number of origin stories, like how Danny's Grandfather coming over from Cuba, how the business made it down to Key West, and how it was Danny's destiny to take over the family business.
#35 - Drinking on the Job at Mellow Cafe and Gastropub
#34 - Improving & Protecting Our Coral Reef with Reef Relief
In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with Alex Risius (Assistant Program Director) and Mill McCleary (Executive Program Director) to talk about the data behind what's happening to our coral reefs.
We talk about how Reef Relief® is making a difference on a global scale, and how tiny changes you make, can make a big difference to our oceans.
Reef Relief® is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to improving and protecting our coral reef ecosystem.
#33 - Better Than Sex... Need We Say More?!?
In this episode, Mark Baratto sits down with Len Johnson, the co-owner of Better Than Sex - A Dessert Restaurant, to talk about where Len's wife Dani gets her inspiration as head baker, and how she "tested" her recipes on all their dinner guests.
We talk about the genius behind the restaurant's name (it was all Dani's idea), how they had the "guts" to even start this business after the recession, and how changing their client focus catapulted the brand.
Be on the lookout for the Better Than Sex podcast, and don't forget to visit any one of their many locations to try, "Cookie Nookie Pie," Between My Red Velvet Sheets Cheesecake," "Peanut Butter Perversion," "The Morning After," just to name a few.