Snarf's owner-chef Jimmy Seidel: "We're bringing more Snarf's to the people"
This is part two of my interview with Jimmy Seidel, chef-owner of Snarf's and Snarfburger; part one of our conversation ran yesterday.
Most memorable meal you've ever had:
I've had some very memorable meals in my life, including the one where I asked my wife to marry me, but it's another meal that I'll call the most memorable (sorry, Bunny!). It was at Mark's Place, in North Miami Beach, a restaurant that just did everything right. It's unfortunate that Mark Militello's restaurants closed, because the times I ate there still really stick out in my mind.
Your three favorite Denver restaurants other than your own:
That's hard, because there are so many great Denver restaurants, and they just keep popping up. Bones is my personal Frank Bonanno favorite, but all of his concepts are way up there. From the food to the service to the overall atmosphere, you're never left wanting for anything. I have a lot of respect for what he's created in Denver. Another all-time favorite is Sushi Den, which is far and away the restaurant I frequent most often. I've eaten a lot of sushi in my life, and Sushi Den is definitely some of the best. Another restaurant I have to mention is Rioja. Jennifer Jasinski is a very talented chef, and I've never had less than amazing food at her restaurant.
Most underrated restaurant in Denver:
Tacos Rápidos on Alameda makes a mean taco. But, please, don't you all start going there now. I hate waiting in lines.
Who is Denver's next rising-star chef?
Justin Brunson at Old Major and Masterpiece Deli. He's clearly already had a lot of success, but I believe his star quality will continue to rise. From one sandwich guy to another, I'm impressed with what he's doing.
Which living chef do you most admire?
It's got to be Anthony Bourdain, for the simple reason that he's living my dream: eating and traveling for a living.
What do you enjoy most about your craft?
This is an easy one: I enjoy eating the most, followed closely by seeing the pleasure on my customers' faces when they bite into a sandwich. It's a beautiful thing.
What are the most challenging aspects of being a chef?
Growth. We now have ten Snarf's Sandwiches in Colorado and several more in St. Louis and Chicago, and soon we'll have our first location in Austin, Texas. Maintaining food consistency and quality is one thing, but I don't want to lose the unique culture and fun atmosphere that made us special to begin with. That's why we've been very deliberate and cautious when it comes to expanding the brand.
If you could make one request of Denver diners, what would it be?
Please share your feedback with us. We care and we listen. But stop telling me it takes too long to get a sandwich. I'm kidding...sort of.
What's the best food- or kitchen-related gift you've been given?
The best gift I've ever been given -- and still search for on eBay and at flea markets -- is the original Toas-Tite campfire sandwich press. When your sandwich is done, it looks like a flying saucer.