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!!

More on AMRI

We are an ethical and sustainable day spa, salon, and boutique located in the heart of Key West, FL. 

We aim to always put people and the planet above all else. We accomplish this by thinking of the people involved in every area of our supply chain. From the people who make the products we sell, to our team members at our storefront in Key West, to you,  our guest! Our main priority is making sure Amri is impacting all of these people’s lives and the planet in a  positive way. From making sure the factories our products are made in are up to code and the workers are getting a fair wage- to making sure the materials our products we sell and use in our Day Spa + Salon are good for the planet and every living thing in it.

We couldn’t express our gratefulness to be apart of this One Human Family and for all of the support we’ve gotten from the community during this time. Our heartbeat has always been people and the planet first, and it continues to be😊❤️.

Please visit our website for more info on our covid precautions and protocols 😊.

Website: https://www.amrikeywest.com

Instagram: http://instagram.com/amrikeywest

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/amrikeywest

Location
1204 Simonton Street
Key West, FL 33040

Hours
Monday – Saturday 10am – 6pm

Phone
305.292.4000

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 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 – 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!!

**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.