Chef Spotlight: Jonathan Schnipper of SCHNIPPERS in NYC

By: Jan. 11, 2017

Schnippers is well known to New Yorkers and many others who visit the city. The casual eatery gathers people together to share wholesome cuisine. They delight their customers with everything from juicy burgers, mac & cheese and tasty sandwiches to salads, sloppy joes and tempting desserts. You can visit Schnippers in Times Square, the Flatiron, Midtown East, the Financial District, and in TriBeCa.

Schnippers is a family business, a culinary collaboration by brothers Jonathan and Andrew Schnipper. They are committed to sourcing quality ingredients and crafting every dish to order in a scratch kitchen. Jonathan and Andrew are passionate about cooking and eating. In 1995, the brothers founded Hale & Hearty Soups and were on the forefront of the fast-casual food movement in New York City. interviewed Jonathan Schnipper about his background and Schnippers for our "Chef Spotlight."

What was your earliest interest in cooking?

Believe it or not I grew up wanting to be a Veterinarian, not a Chef. But I sure did love to eat. It was in college that it became clear to me that I wanted to spend my life around food. And I am sure glad I did. It's a much better fit for me.

Who have been some of your career mentors?

My brother and partner Andrew Schnipper has indeed had a tremendous influence on me in our 27 year career together (as well as our 50 years as brothers). We are quite different in many ways, even though our business philosophies are very aligned. We complement and push each other to be the best we can be.

What culinary styles have influenced your career?

There are very few styles of food I do not enjoy or at least appreciate. If I had to name an overall favorite it would be Italian, especially pasta. I am obsessed with pasta and make it frequently at home, but good old American comfort food has a special place in my heart, which is what really got me excited to open Schnippers. Mac and Cheese is a pasta dish and one of my favorite projects each week. Our mac and cheese at Schnippers is great, but can always be improved. I am a true perfectionist when it comes to everything I do and am always striving to do better.

What do you consider the most distinguishing features of your work as a chef?

My culinary approach is what you might find at a high-end fine dining restaurant. Same high quality sensibilities, same standards of excellence, but we serve inexpensive fast casual American classics. My unique challenge is to purchase top quality fresh ingredients and make them fit into the Schnippers business model. It's not always easy - I would love to use caviar or truffles on our menu. It is just not practical. I usually take a less is more approach to most dishes, just as they do with Italian cooking. It's not how many ingredients one uses in a dish but the quality of the ingredients and preparation.

What is your favorite meal?

As I said pasta is my particular favorite when it comes to food. Perhaps it is the carb addict in me, but I can't seem to get enough great pasta. It MUST be fresh and homemade - I'm not a fan of dried pasta.

Tell me a little bit about your restaurant for our readers.

Schnippers serves classic American comfort food in an upscale fast casual setting. We specialize in burgers, sandwiches, mac and cheese, sloppy joe's, chicken fingers and some pretty great salads too. We look at ourselves as the home of feel good food, for both your body or your mind. Some days it is a healthy salad that will make you feel good. Other days it is a juicy bacon cheeseburger. But whatever you need we've got you covered.

Our location on 41st Street and 8th Avenue, located in the heart of the Theater District, frequents major players from the Broadway World such as Ana Villafañe, star of "On Your Feet" and Lin-Manuel Miranda, star of "Hamilton."

To learn more about Schnippers and their five convenient New York City locations, visit Online ordering is available.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Schnippers