Q & A with Evan Siple of The City That Breeds

| February 3, 2014 | 0 Comments

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Riverside resident Evan Siple is a Baltimorean with a lot going on. He started an award-winning blog, The City That Breeds, along with an award-winning podcast, the CTB Podcast. He also works diligently on Mobtown Meat Snacks, the Baltimore-based jerky company he started. And, when he’s not blogging, podcasting, or drying and packaging meat, he’s probably working on an article for b the site or hosting trivia at No Idea Tavern on Tuesday nights.

Siple was born in Hampden and came back to the city in 2004 after being raised in Catonsville. He is a Loyola Blakefield grad with a BA in biology from St. Mary’s College and an MS in biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University.

SouthBMore.com sat down with Siple to learn more about the man who wears many different hats.

Q:  How long have you been living in South Baltimore? What do you like most about living here?

This April it’ll be ten years. Wow. As for what I like most, I mean there’s quite a lot to like. But I guess in a word: proximity. It’s close to everything pretty much, whether on foot to LP Steamers or I-95 by car, two world class stadiums, a convention center, an old but still very profitable multipurpose arena, museums, on and on and on you’re within ten minutes tops of a million things to do. A close second would be Nick’s Seafood at the Cross Street Market during an Orioles game with a big fat beer of any flavor.

Q: We see you are following the national trend of starting a podcast to promote a jerky company. Tell us more.

That’s right folks, in the world of unprofitable blogging the best way to profit in reverse is treat the whole thing as a paid advertisement and reap the tax writeoffs! I kid, I kid. Yeah the podcast just seemed like the next logical step for The City That Breeds and using it to advertise my own company (MOBTOWN MEATSNACKS — DELICIOUS, LOCALLY MADE GOURMET BEEF JERKY WWW.MOBTOWNMEATSNACKS.COM YOU BUY! BUY! BUY!) is a delightful added bonus. I’ve got enough friends in media from years of association that it’s been a really fun experiment, and actually we’re about to hit our one year anniversary of the podcast, the blog is going on it’s *sixth* year.

Q:  How and why did you start Mobtown Meat Snacks? Where can people pick some up?

To be perfectly honest, I love beef jerky and saw a void in Baltimore’s own signature version of the product so I came up with the brand and started doing it out of my kitchen until this past Summer when I was graciously allowed to take up space as Ostrowski’s over in Fells. You can currently find the delicious jerky treats at Tanner’s Pickles (Remington), Atomic Books (Hampden), Fleet Street Market (Fells), and of course Ostrowski’s Famous Polish Sausage. If you guys have any bright ideas as to who in SoBo should carry our product I’m all ears!

Q:  Do you expect Martin O’Malley or SRB to ever try your snacks?

I imagine if they did they would a) enjoy it immensely and b) have no clue as to who made it, I’ll gladly take their money!  (and then hand a percentage directly back to them in the form of sales tax)

Q:  What is the strangest encounter you’ve had while selling your meat snacks?

There are some strange folks out there in Baltimore and the number one way to have to interact with them is vending at a farmer’s market or a festival booth. One lady camped out by my booth at the Pigtown Festival and was trying to get everyone waiting in line to sign a petition against Fracking, while I’m trying to explain to folks about the product, it was pretty frustrating — but another guy approached my booth at the Fells Point Farmer’s Market and started rambling on and on about some sort of government conspiracy to take his family fortune and it was easily the strangest and most uncomfortable experience, especially at 730 in the morning.

Q:  Tell us about The City That Breeds and your podcast. 

The ol’ CTB originally was just me being bored at work and creating a satirical Onion-esque blog about local issues with some acerbic commentary sprinkled here and there. Then it sort of began including bar news, events, most of which was Federal Hill centric since that’s where I lived — AND THEN YOU GUYS START HORNING IN ON MY BEAT DAMMIT! But now it’s a strange time when folks want content but they hate *reading*, as evidenced by Buzzfeed and the rise of photo galleries / linkbait, and I have no interest in it. So the writing is in a bit of a stall if not for the contributions of some of our guest writers (Tammy Whammy, The Bishop, etc) and I’m focusing on the podcasting aspect, an entirely different animal with its own set of challenges. Oddly enough we’ve gotten ten times the positive feedback with our audio lunacy in one year of recording than in the six years that the blog has been going, awards included, so it’s at least spiritually if not monetarily rewarding. I’m hoping to build it into something that can launch our contributors to paid gigs and possibly get picked up by a benevolent network willing to pay us to record. A guy can dream!

Q:  You have quite the mix of personalities on your podcasts. Are these long-time friends of yours or people you’ve met from Twitter?

Most of the folks I’ve met in the media is kind of a combination of Twitter, freelancing, and chance occurrence but some of them have been long time friends – DJ Don Koenig from 98 Rock is a high school friend of mine and we had a blast recording an episode together!

Q:  What trivia category have you used that got the least amount of correct responses?

Oh are you referring to my fantastic performance as a trivia host at No Idea Tavern on Tuesdays starting at 8:45pm? The best bar trivia in town? Well actually and tragically, many times when I do an all-Baltimore category it becomes painfully apparent that most people in Baltimore aren’t from Baltimore. I mean, half the questions are pretty standard Baltimore history lessons (Mayflower truck, hello) and half the folks don’t know the answer. I cry tears of blood when that happens.

Q: If you were Mayor Evan, and not Evan The Mayor, what would be the first thing you would try to change about Baltimore politics?

Audit the entire system. Clean house from top to bottom and eliminate the cronyism once and for all. All of it. It really, really sucks that we’ve got an energized population that wants to see change and real progress and all too often it’s just politics as usual.

Follow Evan on Twitter at @CityThatBreeds and Mobtown Meat Snacks at @MobtownMeatSnax

About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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