Interview: Beth and Joe Kennedy (Spar’s Sausage Shop)


Almost exactly two years ago we wrote about Spar’s European Sausage Shop, the little butcher shop on Amherst St that is serving some unique meats that you can’t find many other places in the city. Since 2005, the Kennedy’s have been running the shop and slowly increasing their selection of groceries and adding more sausages to their menu. Just looking at their large lists of sausages, smoked meats and cold cuts will make a foodie’s mouth water. In a time when big supermarkets have slowly replaced the specialty butcher shop, it’s a testament to the quality and diverse menu that Spar’s offers that they are still in business and gaining popularity.

I’ve stopped by their shop a couple times since we wrote that article in February of 2010 and we’ve had their sausages at several local restaurants (ie Shango’s brunch), but we are definitely over due for a new post on their Black Rock shop. I reached out to Beth Kennedy and they took some time to answer our usual list of questions; here’s where Beth and her husband Joe like to eat and drink in the city….

Right now, where are your favorite places to eat?

Well, once we’ve made the grand effort to shampoo the scent of smokehouse away, we like to treat ourselves to a “dining experience”.  You can go out for sustenance anytime.  For that reason we find ourselves at SeaBar quite often.  Joe calls their Volcano Noodles “crack” which is his delightful way of saying they are quite addictive.  We’ve always loved everything on the fresh sushi menu but once the menu was extended, I became a fan of the Linguini Clams Casino.  The presentation on the plate is practically winking at you, enticing you to give into your natural desire and dig in.  Joe loves to have what is listed on the menu as “Bourdain’s Last Meal’, which gives him oxtail and pate and one other thing that will kill you if you eat more than enough of it!  (Can’t remember what exactly it is but there’s a picture of the Grim Reaper next to it!)  He has also been known to order the Chicken and Waffles for dessert.  This is of course with Mike A’s complete and total encouragement.  Apparently no one really blinks at SeaBar if you add one of their homemade ice creams to this entree for dessert!  F***ing chicken and waffles!  Who knew?

We enjoy the energy and shenanigans that Steve and Ellen Gedra are up to at Bistro Europa.  Anything on the special board is bound to amaze.  Steve attacks each plate with what I imagine to be a combo of insanity and fairy dust.  Never ask how the magician how the lady gets cut in half and then takes a bow, right?  Ellen adds to so many dishes but I love her most for her sexy finger licking Sticky Toffee Pudding.  For anyone into desserts, you’re running the risk of being scene enjoying a very public dessert foreplay!

Where do you like to go grab a drink after work or on the weekends?

Weekdays after work most likely means going to McGarrett’s at Bidwell Pkwy.  Laid back folks and their dogs chillin’ after their long day, a nice beer selection and the friendliest, non-judgemental bartenders in Buffalo who will play you a Beatles song from their IPod if they have it!  Makes you feel special, you know?

Saturday afternoons mean Goodbar and a visit with Bobby.  Joe swears that Goodbar makes the best wings. He likes them just hot but their wing menu is crazy, like our sausage menu!  Plus at Goodbar, I can play pool very poorly and no one really cares.

If you had a friend visiting from out of town, where would you take them for a good time?

To an out of towner, Coles can seem more than a bar and more like a living, breathing entity, especially on special occasions and holidays.  The bar and bartenders are usually decked out in the appropriate gear to celebrate, whether it be full on Easter Bunny costumes or St. Patrick’s Day.  There’s nothing like the Coles long, full bar filled with the many obvious characters from the neighborhood and the city, tucked into corners or holding court mid-bar for all to judge!  To top if off, you can get your guests a delicious meal for lunch or dinner at Coles.

What are some food memories you have from your childhood?
When Joe and I first started dating 20 years ago we loved going to the old Gramma Mora’s on Niagara Street. It was off the beaten path and we would spend cozy, comfortable afternoons there, enjoying our Mexican food and not caring if the world passed by or completely stopped.

We’re also fans of grabbing a Loganberry Shake from Louis Hot Dogs and heading for a pass through beautiful Forest Lawn.  (Romantic Joe took me there on our first date with soft serve ice cream cones!  The first sign of interesting things to come with him!)

What’s would you like to see more of in Buffalo’s food scene?

We’re fans of the food truck idea.  It’s a sure way to know that with a limited menu, these trucks are putting out the freshest meals for you to enjoy anywhere!  This is the perfect way for ethnic foods to be introduced to those of us with expanding palates. I’d love to see Korean food, Northern Italian, Jamaican, Vegan, etc.  It’s also a great way for the owners/chefs to shine and show their specialty.  But as a girl from Welland, I’m still looking for a proper Poutine truck!


A big thank you to Beth and Joe for answering our questions, if you haven’t visited their shop you should definitely check them out before you stop into Wegmans for your normal grocery shopping.  Like them on facebook to find out about specials or new products they have just started carrying.  They also have a YouTube channel with videos from behind the scenes and their spotlight on Nelson Starr’s internet show All Access Pass.

One thought on “Interview: Beth and Joe Kennedy (Spar’s Sausage Shop)

  • May 24, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Love the shirt Beth!! Also, I LOVE Spar’s with all of my heart, and I look forward to living closer to the shop:)


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