EARL SPINKS INTERVIEW
October 18, 2018
by Amber Nicol, USFSP English Student, South St. Pete Resident
Earl is kind of a big deal in South St. Pete. He’s known for his amazing BBQ and his smokin’ personality. Earl positioned his giant homemade BBQ cooker at the corner of 4th Street South and 45th Avenue South, where all the local traffic from South St. Pete discovered his talents for cooking and making people feel good. Residents honked and waved, pulled over to buy some of Earl’s chicken wings, and often just to shoot the [talk] about the heat while taking in aromas of Earl’s BBQ. Earl’s passion and talent for cooking was passed down to him through his father.
How long have you lived in St. Pete?
8 years. I moved here from Leesburg, FL.
What is your role in the South St. Pete community?
I’m a humanitarian.
What do you love about South St. Pete?
It’s a melting pot. We got a little bit of everything down here. Diversity. And there’s a lot of room for growth.
How did you get into BBQ?
I met my Dad at 23, I moved to NJ, I became a Free Mason and started cooking at all of their events all over the state. Every now and then we will get together and cook. His passion is cooking as well.
What do you envision for the future of the South St. Pete community?
I want to see us getting back to the music that used to come through here. I want to see more entertainment.
What are your thoughts on the community infrastructure?
There’s a lot of misperception of the South St. Pete area. The infrastructure is there, but it’s broken. I think they’re trying to repair it. We have a good infrastructure for community businesses and activities— but I don’t think they’re utilizing South St. Pete like they should.
At one point it was broken because of the perception being bad. In some areas it’s bad, but getting better. South St. Pete is [awesome] if you wanna know the truth. I’ve been up and all over St. Pete, man and I just like the Southside. To me that’s where you get the realest people. No cover up— it is what it is. It’s real cool on the South side, I like it.
What are your thoughts on the neighborhoods of Midtown?
I think it needs to go through the revitalization process— at one point in time it was one of the good areas. It has a lot of history. I think it should be revitalized. Midtown has a lot of good memories and stories about the entertainment industry. All of the good artists that used to come through… It had a lot of good music! And then there’s the African American history part; it was a big big part of our community.
How do you feel about the economy of St. Pete?
I think we’re getting ready to have a surge of overgrowth.
The economy is doing well— if we keep bringing in these Northerners, spending the money, St. Pete is gonna be brick and mortar and no brass.
What do you do for fun?
Music. Cook. Make people smile.
I had some college at a technical school. I got my stockbrokers license. I was a series seven broker for nine years. An Investment banker. I owned two restaurants and bought and sold houses.
How do you feel about the state of our country right now?
Ooooo. Oooo. Oh man. I care not to get into the political aspect of it.
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