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Sweets and Meats: Local couple's delicious hobby becomes business

Sweets and Meats: Local couple starts food truck business (Rich Jaffe)
Sweets and Meats: Local couple starts food truck business (Rich Jaffe)
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CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Food trucks have become quite the rage when it comes to the latest and greatest in cuisine all over the country.

One of the other raging tasty trends has become barbecue. For a local couple the combination was a match made in heaven. Friday, May 6, was opening day for the farmers market at Stanbery Park in Mt. Washington. In addition to all the fresh produce and homegrown treats, there was something really special in the airsmoke!

It was coming from the Sweets and Meats food truck. In more ways than one, the place was a dream on wheels. In the 18 months that Sweets and Meats has been in business, Kristen Bailey and her partner Anton Gaffney have had just two weekends off. Family members like Kristen's mom, Michelle, frequently pitch in.

What started as cooking for friends and family in the backyard became an around the clock, delicious business.

Kristen said, "Barbecue brings people together. We have a passion for people. We've always loved hosting our friends and family at home. We had friends that would say, 'Why don't you open a restaurant?' We thought they were just complimenting us because it was free. Who complains about free food?"

"Sweets" uses interns from Cincinnati Job Corp, and Kristen graduated from Mortar, a local business accelerator, while she still worked full time at a local bank. "Meats" has become Anton's full time passion.

Kristen said of Anton, "We did a lot of dreaming together if you will, and it's the one thing he's always been passionate about is barbecue."

Anton studied barbecue at his grandfather's knee. Recipes came largely from his mom and grandmother but Sweet's secret rub was all Anton.

His meat mantra was classic, "Low and slow. You got to keep the heat low and cook 'em slow. The slower you cook it the more the meat breaks down because the natural fibers in the meat are really strong. And once you cook it slow for a long time heat breaks down the meat and makes it a lot moister and tender," said Anton.

Anton's first commercial smoker custom made in Alabama arrived for his 40th birthday. Shortly after that, the business was born in the parking lot of the Mt. Washington Creamy Whip. Working on less than four hours of sleep nightly, Anton frequently begins smoking for the following days feast around midnight.

"Weekends became five, six days a week and now we're a full service caterer. We started doing weddings and now we have this beautiful food truck," and a dream that goes up in smoke, every day.

Sweets and Meats is booked almost daily to provide lunch at various companies across the Tri-State. For a complete list of their locations CLICK HERE.

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