Chef Jamey Fader, a stalwart in restaurateur Dave Query's Big Red F restaurant group, is heading in a new direction after more than twenty years. Fader just signed on as the director of culinary operations for Marczyk Fine Foods.
Owned by Pete and Paul Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane, Marczyk has been growing the prepared-foods side of its business steadily since opening the original market at 770 East 17th Avenue in 2002. A second Marczyk debuted in 2011 at 5100 East Colfax Avenue, bringing in even more customers looking for housemade artisan bread and ice cream as well as salads, full entrees and seasonal items. Paul Marczyk, COO of the company, says the two stores saw double-digit growth in the last quarter, and that's why Fader was needed; the chef will lead production of all in-house prepared foods.
Most Big Red F customers know Fader for launching Lola Coastal Mexican with Query the same year that Marczyk Fine Foods opened. Back then, Lola was located in a cramped space on Old South Pearl Street, but a few years later the restaurant moved to its current spot at 1575 Boulder Street, in part of the building that was once Olinger Mortuary, marking the early beginnings of the LoHi restaurant boom. But even before Lola, Fader had started out at another Query restaurant, Jax Fish House, in 1996.
Over the years, the chef rose to executive chef over Boulder eateries Centro, West End and Zolo, but his affinity for Mexican cuisine could always be tasted at Lola — and he could often be found there, whether jumping onto the line during a busy shift, leading a tequila-pairing dinner in the basement dining area or spearheading fundraising parties for local charities.
Pete Marczyk compares landing Fader to the Broncos signing Peyton Manning in 2012: "You only really get one shot at a Peyton Manning. ... Jamey is the culinary equivalent, and we are taking that shot now," he explains.
Growing competition for grocery dollars from giants like Amazon (which now owns Whole Foods) and food-kit delivery services as well as changes to customer shopping habits (mainly in the form of Instacart and other grocery delivery apps) has meant developing new ways of bringing shoppers into the two Marczyk stores, he adds. Continuing to develop refrigerated and frozen foods — especially under the supervision of a chef of Fader's caliber — will help future growth.
Fader says he took the new position after meeting with Marczyk's owners, with whom he has been friends for years, to discuss their needs. And it turned out that their needs aligned closely with his goals. "I love making a guest's day; I love developing food and I love developing people, and I can do all of those with Marczyk's," he says.
"This was 100 percent my decision based on my desire to be closer to home and be with my family more," Fader adds. "But I'm just unbelievably grateful to Dave for all the opportunities and mentoring and friendship he's given me."
Fader wraps up a career with Query and Big Red F on October 31 and begins a new life with Marczyk on November 5. "I'm stoked that I get to be part of a new family," he concludes.