Sweets & Meats BBQ Founder & CEO: Kristen Bailey

Sweets & Meats BBQ Founder & CEO: Kristen Bailey

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It isn’t easy to maintain a restaurant, advocate for small businesses, and give back to your community. But for this local woman, it’s simply another day on the job. Read on for more.

For the past several years, Sweets & Meats BBQ has been serving the Cincinnati community with their family recipes and true passion for helping those around them. 

The idea for the company started when founder and CEO Kristen Bailey and her partner, Anton, began hosting backyard cookouts in 2010. “He (Anton) has always been an incredible cook and his food and BBQ kept getting better and better. I could see his passion for making really good BBQ and I loved hosting and entertaining our guests. We complement each other very well,” says Bailey. “For Anton’s 40th birthday, I created a business plan, filed an LLC, and had a custom smoker built in Georgia shipped to our home. We launched the business together that week!”

Sweets & Meats BBQ makes everything from scratch daily using family recipes and focusing on the entire BBQ experience. In every outlet of their franchise, you can find six smoked meats, eight homemade sides, two desserts and an excellent customer service experience on a daily basis, according to Bailey. “Every day is Thanksgiving at Sweets & Meats BBQ,” she laughs.

Some crowd favorites on their menu are brisket, baby back ribs, macaroni & cheese, sweet potato casserole, sweet cornbread, collard greens, and banana pudding. It’s those crowd favorites and Bailey’s dedication that have won Sweets & Meats BBQ 12 awards and counting since opening in 2014. Most recently, they won the 2019 Ohio Business Person of the Year (U.S. SBA), 2019 1st Place Entrée – Rib Tips (Taste of Cincinnati), and 2019 Equity Award (MORTAR Cincinnati).

“My favorite part about Sweets & Meats BBQ is that I get to do what I love with the person I love most, every single day. We are building a life and a legacy together. We have poured everything we have into our business, it’s deeply personal. We will always do everything we can to keep moving forward,” says Bailey.

Enter, COVID-19. The pandemic has been difficult for many small businesses, especially those in the food industry. For Sweets & Meats BBQ, Bailey says they are determined to see it as an opportunity to do the most with what they can with where they are. “We are constantly pivoting and have been more proactive versus reactive,” says Bailey. “Through our partnership with Kroger, we are stocking a 6-foot cold case with our items, setting up food truck pop-ups in different neighborhoods, experimenting with new menu items (new partnership with Queen City Sausage), serving free meals at rest stops, and are focusing heavily on online ordering with contactless payment and offering curbside pick-up.”

Not only are they serving customers ordering food, they are also serving those around them in the community. “I feel Sweets & Meats BBQ has been a really big advocate for other small businesses and helping them navigate during a really difficult and unprecedented time. We remain open and have always been a resource for our peer entrepreneurs. We have been assisting families in our neighborhood who are food insecure, purchasing produce boxes for our team’s families, serving truckers complimentary meals at rest stops, and preparing meals for first responders each week,” says Bailey. “We continue to persevere, and I think we do our neighborhoods proud by being good stewards and finding success. We want to bring joy!”

Want to help in your community, but not sure where to start? Take Bailey’s advice and follow your heart. Ask yourself what you are passionate about. When in doubt, turn to a non-profit whose mission aligns with your passion, Bailey suggests.

Sweets & Meats BBQ carry out restaurant is located in Mount Washington at 2249 Beechmont Avenue, open Wednesday – Sunday. Their food truck has an active schedule popping up around the Tri-State. To learn more, locate their food truck, or order online, visit https://www.sweetsandmeatsbbq.com/. You can also connect with them on InstagramFacebook and Twitter

Editor’s Note: This feature is part of a special “Hearts to Heroes” issue dedicated to individuals across the Tri-State working on the front lines to provide for our community. Readers nominated and our editorial board selected those included in this week’s issue. Everyone featured is also receiving a heart-filled care package of self-care products, yummy treats, and gift cards to several local shops and restaurants. Many thanks to AT&T and Leslie Young, Vice President, EVER Skincare, Stella & Dot Family of Brands for making this effort possible.

Hattie Martin
Hattie Martin is an editorial intern at Cincy Chic. She attends University of Cincinnati, majoring in Public Relations and Fashion Studies, complimented with a Creative Writing Certificate. When she is not found writing, you can find her at your local coffee shop or spending time in her hometown of Owensboro, Kentucky. Contact her at hmartin@cincychic.com.