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 the family dynamic, and how a “little rub goes a long way 😎.”

More on The Spice & Tea Exchange

At The Spice & Tea Exchange, we offer a variety of fine spices, handcrafted seasonings, loose-leaf teas, salts, sugars, gifts, and more! Explore gifts and accessories in the best local gift shop in town. Whether you’re new to the culinary scene, own your own food service business, or are simply looking to add a bit of spice to your life, our friendly and knowledgeable staff can help you find the perfect menu additions! We’re known for our over 85 handcrafted seasonings, which we hand-mix in store daily. Stop on by to watch our Spice Masters at work!

Website: https://www.spiceandtea.com/key-west

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/spiceandtea

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/spiceandtea/

511 Greene St, #102
Key West, Florida 33040

305-741-7352
[email protected]

Our doors are open and we’re offering curbside pickup and Free Shipping over $50 on local phone orders!

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!

More on Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen & Bar

At Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen & Bar, the ingredients speak for themselves. It’s American Coastal Comfort Food—simple, comforting, and delicious in a way you’d never expect. Whether you bring in your own fresh catch for us to prepare or come in to order just a few dishes, you’ll want to try everything on the menu. Plus, our gift cards make the perfect present for your favorite foodie

Website: https://www.perrykeywest.com/eat-and-drink/matts-stock-island

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mattsstockislan

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.

More on Under the Leaf

Under the leaf is a plant shop specializing in beautiful drought tolerant and low maintenance plants for both indoors and out.

Design, arrangement and art business inspired by mehndi, plants, and snails. Located in Stock Island at the @artshack complex.

Hours: Tuesday – Sunday from 11am – 6pm

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

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

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!

More on Paradise Restaurant

Website: http://www.restaurantparadisekw.com

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

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

It began with two brothers born in Miami, FL but raised in their family’s homeland in Medellin, Colombia. Christian Velez and Julian Velez, now 25 and 30, respectively. While living in Colombia, their family decided to move to Miami with hopes of building a life that included their dreams and visions. Once reaching the USA, their parents placed them in a soccer program known today as Kendall Soccer coalition, making great teammates that eventually turned into family along the way.

This was the beginning of their soccer career and as time passed, they were granted the special opportunity to continue playing soccer at a university level with a scholarship. From Kendall Soccer Coalition to Florida Gulf Coast University, it was looked as a giant step with goals of making it professionally. Unfortunately, things took a turn when everything seemed so great when hardships and internal family matters broke up the unity amongst the Velez family. While Christian remained in school to complete his degree, his brother left to Colombia.

Over a span of 5 years, the brothers were distant but remained in close communication with hopes to one day create a legacy together to honor the family and everything their parents sacrificed for them to be where they were today. Together they planned to move out of their comfort zone all the way down to Key West. Working counted hours and sleepless nights, they saved onto eventually open their one gift shop “Life in Paradise.” They recognized the amounts of visitors who showed up next door to their neighbor’s side, known as “Juan loves Lucy.’ A very popular restaurant that ran for more than six years. After years passed, they planned to one day envision a restaurant next door to accompany their citing store. A restaurant that encompasses the culture they’ve been able to ___? in Colombia and the melting pot up in Miami, they wanted to create a place for everyone and anyone. And so they opened an international cuisine for tourists from all over the world to have a taste of a variety of dishes ranging from Colombia, Cuba, Peru, USA, and Mexico. Today what you see is the work and labor that brings stout the restaurant, known as Paradise. For behind every storm, be sure to know there is a paradise waiting for you. We gladly welcome you to ours.

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 🙂

More on Conch Republic Seafood Company

Experience true dock-to-dish dining as you enjoy the incredible views of the Historic Seaport inside our fully open air restaurant! Often, you’ll see our very own fleet of boats unloading their catches of fresh fish, stone crab and Caribbean Lobster!

Website: https://conchrepublicseafood.com

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ConchFarm

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!

More on La Grignote Artisan French Bistro

Website: http://lagrignotecafe.com

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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/La-Grignote-170784603348283/

OUR STORY: A FRENCH COUPLE LIVING THE AMERICAN DREAM

La Grignote cafe is family-owned by Joel and Babeth, a couple in life. After falling in love with the island on his first visit to Key West in 1995, and spending a year there, it took Joel 20 years to fulfill his dream to move there permanently. In the meantime he met Babeth, a french baker aspiring to open a bakery in Florida, and they opened “La Grignote” in September 2016.

“We decided to make everything from scratch with high-quality ingredients. We also want to be a part of the neighborhood, the community not just cater to tourists.”

Today, we are recognized as the best bakery, place to eat by the whole community.

We have gotten so successful that we opened another bakery called “La Petite Grignote” located on 517 Fleming street in Key West.

La Grignote Cafe
1211 Duval Street
Key West, FL, 33040, USA

La Petite Grignote
517 Fleming street
Key West, FL, 33040, USA

Phone: 305-916-5445

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.”

More on Russell

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MrRussellDavis

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

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/MrRussellDavis

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, Marcia Weaver.

During this episode, we danced, we sang (well Marcia does) and I ate one of their famous Cuban Burger!

More on Frita’s Cuban Burger Cafe

Website: http://fritascubanburgers.com

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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Fritas-Cuban-Burger-Cafe-301558923350863/

Fritas Cuban Burger Cafe opened in 2014 with the goal of bringing the Cuban flavors of the “Frita” to Key West, Florida.

Just steps from the famous Duval Street, Frita’s provides a variety of tastes and experiences. Relax inside the Cafe where, along with our signature Fritas, you’ll enjoy delicious traditional Cuban and fusion sandwiches as well as tacos. Complete your meal with our homemade pastries, scoops and shakes made with locally crafted premium ice cream. Cool down with a glass of sangria, or take one to go!

The Frita is a heavenly burger with origins in 1930’s Cuba where they were considered a native street food. Frita’s exclusive recipes were developed slowly and lovingly with visits to Cuba and assistance from Cuban friends. They are a mouthwatering blend of beef and pork burger seasoned with Spanish spices and topped with a special sauce and crispy fried julienne potatoes, all sandwiched on a Cuban bun. Salty, savory, sweet and crunchy.

Fritas Cuban Burger Cafe is the brainchild of entrepreneur Marcia Weaver who also owns and operates Boston Cigar Factory, proud purveyors of handmade cigars rolled in the Cuban tradition.

Contact Info:

425 Southard St
Key West, Florida 33040
Phone: (305) 509-7075

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.

A Message from Prime Steakhouse

Finally a light at the end of the tunnel! ☀️With the latest update this Friday we will be reopening our doors to our island friends & family! We will be running our September locals specials as well as half price stone crab claws 🦀 Indoor & outdoor seating will be available so reservations are recommended but not necessary. If you’re looking to celebrate a missed birthday, anniversary or would just like to have a sense of normalcy again, we would love to serve you! Our doors will open at 5:30pm. Take out & delivery will still be available as well 🥩 🦞 🍷•

More on Prime Steakhouse

Website: https://primekeywest.com

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

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

Address: 951 Caroline St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 2964000

Since opening in 2005, PRIME has quickly become the premier steakhouse in the Florida Keys. Impeccably prepared prime beef is the star at PRIME, cooked to perfection in ovens nearing 1,000 degrees.

Under the supervision of the executive chef, there’s more to Prime than just great steaks!! Locally caught lobster tails, daily fresh fish specials from Key West fishermen, nightly pasta special, or whole yellowtail snapper, deep-fried and cleverly seasoned are just a few of the treats that await the non-carnivores. Chef Kim Quach has been pleasing palettes in the keys for over ten years and has brought his creativity and passion to PRIME. Jumbo lump crab cakes, carpaccio of filet mignon, or garlicky escargot are just a few starters that locals rave about. And don’t forget the Truffled Mac and Cheese, PRIME’S signature side.

Whether you prefer steaks or seafoodwe’ve selected wines from Italy, France and the USA, that will pair perfectly with your dinner.

Whether you choose to dine al frescoe on our terrace or in our intimate dining room, you will enjoy a superior level of service that will make your dinner at PRIME extraordinary!!

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.

This episode was recorded on the 3rd of March, right before the shut down for COVID-19 began.

NOTE – Jeff and I recorded an intro on this episode that was recorded on Thursday, April 30th, to talk about the status of both galleries and how he is offering additional sources of income for digital photographers out there.

More on DE LA Gallery

Website: https://www.delagallery.com

Intagram: https://www.instagram.com/delagallery/

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

WHO WE ARE

We’re photographer/artist Jorge de la Torriente and master framer Jeffrey Rodriguez. We started out as friends and now we are family.

We specialize in large format coastal, seaside, & landscape fine art photography.

We print and frame all of the images in-house, where Jorge’s singular artistic vision + Jeffrey’s precision, expert craftsmanship and attention to detail combine to make each piece one of a kind. 

We specialize in serving new and seasoned collectors looking for one-of-a-kind, museum-quality, and large format fine art photography through our Key West gallery and our online home.

WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT

We’re not a collective run by artists or a traditional art gallery. As a self-represented artist with my own gallery, you’ll enjoy a tailored buying experience because you are buying directly from the artist.

We get to know our collectors individually. Which allows us to provide a highly customized art buying experience, that is designed to meet your specific needs as a collector. We use the latest in printing, framing techniques and technology to produce everything in house. This allows us to produce a museum quality finished piece that very few can reproduce. Our finished pieces are all individually made to order, and we offer lots of flexibility in customizing the art to fit your need.

If you’re in town, we invite you to visit us in person. We’re located across from the historic La Concha Hotel on Duval St. Come in, relax and enjoy the calming visions of the Florida Keys and surrounding areas. Let us help you find that special piece that’s meant to be in your collection.

If you’re shopping with us online, we invite you to explore our site. Browse limited edition collections or sign up for our newsletter to keep up with the latest DE LA Gallery news.

Gallery Locations

KEY WEST
419 Duval St
Key West, FL 33040
(305) 395-2210

CHARLESTON
36 North Market St.
Unit #102
Charleston, SC 29401 

The Art Warehouse

Website: http://www.artwarehousekw.com

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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Art-Warehouse-127489124009667/

Art Warehouse.  The Custom Framing Experts.

At Art Warehouse, we believe art and creativity are all inspired by people, places and things in the world around us.  Come visit our showroom and let us share some inspiring custom framing ideas with you.

Family owned and operated for 34 years, we cater to the picture framing needs of everyone from fine art galleries to a proud mom framing her child’s first drawing.  

Whether you are preserving a precious heirloom or enhancing the look of a piece of art, Art Warehouse is the name you can trust.  Our passion lies in seeing the genuine look of enjoyment and satisfaction on our customer’s faces.  Come check us out.  We love what we do!

Location

3436 Duck Ave
Key West, FL 33040
(305) 307-6102