Desperate Dave's Spice Company and Emporium (1641 Aliceanna Street, 410-878-2024) might seem like a high-falutin name for a small enterprise at the Broadway Market in Fells Point. But once you push through the doors, you see what it's all about. The space is packed with more than 300 jars of hot sauces, salsas, mustards, and spices. You can also grab a cup of Zeke's coffee, house-made paninis on Stone Mill ciabatta rolls, rainbow-colored gelato, and yummy pastries, or buy a T-shirt that says, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's hot sauce." You're now in the house that Dave built—Dave Alperin, that is, a 61-year-old Sam Elliott look-alike whose caricature is plastered on his eponymous products. He also carries other hot-ticket items from purveyors Whiskey Island, Little Willie's, and Todd's Dirt. The shop's name, Desperate Dave's, evolved while quaffing a few brews with friends, Alperin says. There was nothing desperate about it. He just liked how it sounded. Next came his chipotle sauce, then habanero sauce. Now five years and a new location later, Alperin, a former restaurant manager, has set up an eclectic food business down the street from his first store. "We're a poor man's Williams-Sonoma, Trader Joe's," he says. "As much as I can, I do local."
Not-so-Desperate Dave’s stakes out Broadway Market.
Issue date: April, 2008