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Sparky's Roadside Barbecue

What if we told you there was a casual, homegrown, no-fuss barbecue joint where you could sit back, relax with friends, sip on craft beers, and nosh on what have been named the best ribs in the city? You may shake your head and say that kind of place doesn’t exist in Miami. But it does!

Situated in the heart of Downtown, just across the street from the First Street Metromover Station, you’ll find Sparky’s Roadside Barbecue {204 Northeast First Street; 305.377.2877}, your new favorite neighborhood hangout.

Sparky's Roadside Barbecue

Sparky’s is the brainchild of Hans Seitz and Kevin Kehoe, two chefs who met back in 1987 while working under Chef Michael Moran at a restaurant called Who’s in the Grove. The two friends parted ways for a while before meeting up again in Miami to open up their barbecue venture—and adventure—in 2010.

Five years later, Sparky’s is still going strong, staying true to its philosophy: to make the best barbecue out of the best ingredients. “We make everything in-house—except for the fries and the ketchup!” Hans says.

Sparky's Roadside Barbecue

The décor is cool and casual, with various tchotchkes covering the walls. Dozens of craft beers (both bottled and draft) are on offer, and Sparky’s prides itself on only serving American varieties.

Of course, the ribs are a must-order, though we also recommend the Pulled Pork Plate and the Jerk Chicken, both of which were absolutely fantastic. The signature homemade rubs and sauces add to the one-of-a-kind dining experience, not to mention the fresh-daily desserts—the pecan pie is a personal fave. You can’t go wrong when choosing sides, but our top choices had to be the Macaroni and Cheese and the Sweet Potato Mash.

Sparky's Roadside Barbecue

The “Beat the Clock” Happy Hour is particularly popular, as young professionals gather here for a drink or two after work during the weekdays. Drafts start at just $4 at 4pm, and go up one dollar each hour until 7pm. They also offer half-off wings and hush puppies.

No visit to Sparky’s is complete without starting off with a piece of perfectly textured, freshly made cornbread, served warm and with butter—exactly as it should be.

By Sherri Balefsky | Miami Editor