Marketplace: It’s F’n Hot in Main Street sauce shop
Sometimes you need a strange name to get noticed.
Wet Fart has been one of Diane Kushner’s best sellers in the last month. It’s sort of a spicy marinara sauce that goes well with Italian food.
"People pick it up because it has a disgusting name and then start reading the ingredients," she explained.
That’s why Kushner isn’t shy about the name of the chili sauce and salsa store she opened on Main Street in November: It’s F’n Hot.
It’s a little strange, but it’s also memorable and gets people in the front door. When her family goes on vacation to places like Myrtle Beach and Key West, the chili sauce stores there are some of their favorite stops and they always spend money inside. She decided such a place was needed on Main Street.
Hotness is measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU). Tabasco Sauce has an SHU of about 30,000 and self-defense pepper sprays rate between one and five million. Some of the sauces Kushner carries have an SHU of 6 million.
"If you’ve been eating this stuff your whole life it’s not that big a deal," she said. "If you know what you’re doing with it, you can be OK with the hotter ones."
For example, they’re great for a buffalo wing sauce, she added.
But Kushner said she and her husband aren’t really "Chili Heads" people who like hot for hotness sake.
"For us it’s about flavor," she explained. "Some like the heat, but most people are looking for something to enhance the flavor of food, not obliterate what they’re eating."
For that reason It’s F’n Hot also sells a wide array of snacks, dips, dip mixes, Bloody Mary mixes, wing sauces, barbeque sauces, meat rubs, pasta sauces, maple syrup, cooking spices, mustards, relishes and anything that goes well with alcohol including stuffed and pickled mushrooms.
Because Kushner and her family like the sauces for cooking, they contracted with a company in Denver to create their own line of products. It provides souvenir hunters something to take home that says, "Park City" but also enables the owners to show clients how they like to use hot chilies.
For example, her husband was craving hot mustard that didn’t taste like horseradish so they made a habañero mustard. Each bottle has an accurate hotness scale on the side so buyers know just what they’re getting into.
The owners invite shoppers to ask about any bottle in the store they’ve tried them all. Better yet, they’ll let you try them. Kushner said that was something she liked about some of the similar stores around the country. It’s F’n Hot has a bar with stools for visitors to taste test to their heart’s delight. She also has an on-premise beer license because in addition to milk, the sugar and fizz in beer helps dilute hotness.
But just looking around is fun too. Some of America’s favorite hot-sauce brands have been around a long time, so to get noticed new companies create hilarious names (like Wet Fart) and eye-catching (even eye-popping) labels.
Kristen Lamey from Seattle was walking on Main Street last Wednesday and said she came in because she was intrigued.
"Mine is not a strong palate but it’s fun stuff," she said. "I had to stop in."
It’s F’n Hot
545 Main Street
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