A chance meetup ten years ago solidified the fate of two friends and restaurateurs who now produce and serve the best barbecue in New York State, while helping their Lovejoy neighborhood flourish.
Sandi Robinson was a youth pastor for Vivian Robinson’s children at a summer camp, and when these women met, the spiritual connection they shared sparked their instant friendship. The women believe the Lord blessed them and brought them together.
Sandi, owner of Speak Easy Buffalo and Vivian, the owner of La Verdad Cafe, recently joined their businesses together into Speak Easy’s space, where the duo continues satisfying customers with barbecue offerings such as brisket and burnt ends bowls, ribs and macaroni and cheese, along with Sandi’s signature mocktail creations.
Along with the continued food and drink experience, the same faith and joy that brought them together is the basis of the positive emotional setting at their newly-joint restaurant.
The women show love to customers the way Christ loves them – they provide prayer, food and laughter – especially in the time of Covid-19, where many people have felt isolated.
“We love people,” Sandi said. “We love to chat with people, we love to see people happy. This current space…it is a peaceful place…One of the things that we really love is to be able to have good conversation, good food, good drinks with people in a safe environment.”
People who wouldn’t normally come to church feel that La Verdad, which means “the truth,” is a safe space to come for healing and deliverance, and they come in and ask for prayer.
“People come in here not just for physical food, they also get spiritual food,” Vivian said.
This spiritual food has given Sandy and Vivian the motivation to brave through tough times, as well. Despite facing difficulties and tragedy from Covid-19 and the recent passing of Sandi’s daughter from a drug overdose, they both remain positive and make sure others around them feel that positivity, too.
“There is blessing in grief,” Sandi said. “We decide what we’re going to do with it. We can either take it and sit…or we can say ‘All right Lord, use this for your glory,’ and that’s what I’m going to do.”
1194 E. Lovejoy St.