Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.
  --Henry Ford

Our story begins with Joe O’Brien, firefighter and master of all that is hot. For many years, Joe created, dabbled with and mastered hot sauce recipes—sharing his successes with friends, family and acquaintances along the way. Years ago he messed around with a sweet collaboration of spices and peppers resulting in a spice that seemed to kick you in the mouth—kind of like a ninja. Yeah…he called it Ninja spice.


As you can imagine, there was refinement over a number of years…Ninja #2, #3, #4 and so on. Then came Ninja #8—sweet Mother of Spices! Perfection.

the fellas
Joe O'Brien

The Sensei and firefighter for Hadley Twp. Fire Department in Hadley, Michigan.

Kurt Nass

The Chief and fire chief for Hadley Twp. Fire Department in Hadley, Michigan.

John Wallace

The Colonel, head chef and owner of The Parlour in Hadley, Michigan.


Shortly after joining the Hadley Twp. Fire Department, Joe asked his fire chief if he liked a little heat on his food. He gave his chief, Kurt Nass, a bottle wrapped in blue masking tape with a skull and crossbones and the name Ninja #8 sketched with a Sharpie. Kurt loved it—put it on everything.


Around the same time, John Wallace opened his first pizzeria in downtown Hadley—The Parlour. John was a buddy of Joe’s and like Joe…created, dabbled with and mastered all that is pizza. John received a blue masking taped bottle of the #8 as well and took a huge leap of faith and began using #8 on crusts and bread when customers asked him to kick it up a notch.


Ninja #8 found its way onto The Parlour’s menu with people requesting Ninja Bread and pizza.


Meanwhile, Chief Nass continued to put a bug in Joe’s ear about selling that stuff. The two would joke about it over a couple of years until Joe, Kurt and John came together—joining the Hadley Lions Club in 2011.


Together the three formulated plans, devised strategies, did some thinking and opened SmokeEater Foods LLC in the back of The Parlour, now known as the Dojo.


Joe, John and Kurt—known as the Spice Guys by their families—are eager and committed to distributing “gold in a bottle” to the masses as well as a number of other spectacular foods.


SmokeEater Foods is dedicated to serving, supporting and improving the communities our families thrive in through charitable contributions and fundraising activities. We have a strong relationship with the firefighting community and support mutual ideals and efforts.