I came to the Key West something north of twenty years ago. Us old timers, we never really remember the year — that’s just the way it is. I can remember the water, the wind, and the sky, however. The small little place it was back then.
I was in my 20’s and came down to play for six weeks at the Pier House. Play music that is. I had put together a “jacuzzi band” as I called them. Top-Forty music. It was a reason to travel, and a reason to get out of those cold Upstate New York winters. When we finally made it to Florida, it was to be the last gig. The end of the road. We had made it as far as we could go and I simply wasn’t going to play Madonna anymore.
I landed in the best of music scenes and instant friends were made all around. I played for many years and it was absolutely great. There are so many great stories to tell. Some of the best of times I had were with One World, writing and playing music with Keith Ricks. Key West sunsets were alive and Keith and I provided the music. Together we made six albums of island music that still, to this day, stand the test of time.
Enter Tom Kelly, who owned a restaurant showcasing live music where I played Sunday Reggae Nights with One World. We became fast friends and soon after smoked fish dip became a regular appetizer at gatherings. Tom smoked the fish, I made the dip, and everyone had a good time.
You see, first you had to go out and fish the beautiful blue green waters of the Florida Keys. After that you had to fire up the smoker, have a beer, and play a round of horseshoes to wait out the smoke. You can see where this is going.
When the endless stream of gigs seemed to stop in its tracks, I became an installer of custom home theaters, played some music, and spent some time teaching piano. When the housing market went bust and there were no more custom houses being built, I turned to fish dip and made my favorite pastime my full-time calling.
Of course that’s only a part of the story. Last year, when sales tripled and the work load became too much, I had a crazy idea. My brother was up in Missouri while the rest of us were down in sunny Florida. Enter Kevin, my brother and brother-in-law to my friend Tom, my friend for years. Get the picture?
Smilin’ Bobs is a family business dedicated to bring our customers the best that we have. Made in the Florida Keys. Made in the USA.