Every Friday and Saturday, things get ridiculously tasty at the intersection of SW 62nd Avenue and SW 64th Street. The vacant lot behind St. John’s African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Miami fills with the town’s unsung gourmands. In the distance, a yard full of dudes plays dominoes under a stumpy tree.
An old dude named Levi Kelly rolls a huge pit BBQ trailer out to the empty lot. Behind a tiny blue tent, Kelly serves up perhaps the best kept secret in the town: $8 gets you a “rib sandwich,” which basically consists of a half rack of crispy-smoked mouth-shattering ribs chopped up and laid over two pieces of white bread. $24 gets you a whole rack (I can only imagine…).
By the time you get down to the bread (two hours later), it’s nothing but a sponge of grease and spicy-sweet sauce. Ask for sauce and he’ll pour it on with an iced tea pitcher. Sit down and talk to the old timers on SW 64th Street about South Miami’s racist history.
“There used to be a fence right over there that black folk didn’t cross,” said Sarah Tompkins, an aging native. Her face lit up when her son, a bear of a man, showed up in UPS shorts, his shirt opened down to the fifth button, with his arms full of kids. “Here comes the boss,” Tompkins said, eying her pre-teenage grandaughter.
“Grandmama,” the girlsaid, rolling her eyes in anticipation of the answer. “Can I have five dollars?”
“Why not,” she said, stamping her foot. “I left my money in my locker.”
"That doesn’t sound like a good place for it."
The Boss’ brother arrived hungry and Tompkins tossed a whole snapper into a plastic tupperware filled with fine flour. She shook them up with a thump-thump and tossed them into a propane fryer. Too bad I was stuffed to the gills with pork.
Kelly and Tompkins were nice. And they were right, it was good talking to some old folks for a change.
Saturday night at 8:30, I found an graying Caribbean couple closing up shop. All she had left were conch fritters (3 for $1) and I bought a brown paper bag. By the time I got them back to the office, the bag had formed a greasy window from which you could peer into the delectible almost latke-like treats inside. Ah, yes. --Calvin Godfrey
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.