New in Town: Lava Lips

You may think you know hot sauce. Belly up to the tiki-inspired bamboo bar at Indy’s first and only hot sauce–tasting emporium, and Lisa and Michael Siemer will enlighten you further—and enliven your tastebuds—with all the spicy nuances and Scoville ratings of the dozens of hot sauces, marinades, and barbecue rubs they have on offer at their funky SoBro condiment shop. Born of the couple’s desire to do something fun after years of working in sales, their boutique, decked out with plenty of island collectibles, is a nod to Peppers, one of the Siemers’ favorite stops in Key West, as well as a growing niche in the specialty-food market. (Michael also operates Tiki Trends, which creates thatched tropical structures for homes and businesses.) “We’re really here to educate about the types and uses of hot sauces,” Michael says, pouring samples of such varieties as “Tropic Thunder,” “Anal Angst,” and the locally made “Captain Jim’s Molten Orange Ambrosia,” a good choice for kicking up cocktails. More than a shop, Lava Lips is an experience where daring patrons can sit back and try as many sauces as their tongues can endure. All customers have to pay for is a bag of tortilla chips for sampling. And if you go too far, the Siemers keep plenty of milk on hand to help settle the burn.

4915 N. College Ave., 965-6629, lavalipsindy.com


This article appeared in the December 2013 issue.

A graduate of IU’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing, Terry Kirts hails from a town in Illinois so small it didn’t have a restaurant until he was in the 8th grade. Since 2000, he’s more than made up for the dearth of eateries in his childhood, logging hundreds of meals as the dining critic for WHERE Indianapolis, Indianapolis Woman, and NUVO before joining Indianapolis Monthly as a contributing editor in 2007. A senior lecturer in creative writing at IUPUI, Terry has published his poetry and creative nonfiction in a number of literary journals and anthologies, including Gastronomica, Alimentum, and Home Again: Essays and Memoirs from Indiana, and he’s the author of the poetry collection To the Refrigerator Gods, published by Seven Kitchens Press in 2011.