When Jimmy "Snarf" Seidel opened the first Snarf's Sandwiches in Boulder in 1996, he did so out of love for the dish. Now, with seventeen locations in the state, he wants customers to have a part in the creation process and so will be hosting a competition to create the best new sandwich. The contest kicks off January 1 and runs until February 15, with the finalists announced on Monday, February 25.
If your sandwich creation is picked, you'll attend a live judging event in March where the merits of your sandwich will be voted on based on creativity, ingredient pairing, taste and visual appeal. All sandwiches must be made on Snarf's own fresh-baked white or wheat bread, and contestants of all ages may submit up to three recipes. Make sure to give your invention a catchy name and describe how to make it when you submit your entry on the official Top Snarf website. The winner will have his or her sandwich featured at the Snarf's locations as a "secret" menu option and get to eat free Snarf's sandwiches for a year. To give you an edge in the process, we chatted with Seidel to find out what, to him, makes the perfect sandwich.
Why did you create this competition?
The Snarfers are asking for it. A lot of Snarfers eat Snarf's almost every day, and they often create their own sandwiches. So I thought it would be a great opportunity for them to compete against each other to create the most interesting new sandwich and have a little fun at the same time. Snarfers are sandwich pros and proud of it.
In your opinion, what makes a great sandwich?
It's all about the best bread and quality ingredients. When all the elements are stacked together in the right proportions, all the flavors come through to create a mind-blowing experience. I have perfected the science behind the build of a Snarf's sandwich. Each sandwich has been carefully crafted to include just the right amount of meats, cheeses and vegetables so you can taste it all in every single bite.
What kind of things will you be looking for in the recipes?
This is a blank slate, but the flavor combinations need to be off the charts. The experience should open our minds to new ideas in the sandwich world. Originality, deliciousness and, of course, marketability. I mean, I love an anchovy-and-jam sandwich as much as anyone, but I'm not sure how well I could sell it. Each entrant will start with the same canvas, which is our famous crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside bread. I have spent years perfecting the recipe. The flaky, crispy, doughy goodness is baked fresh every single day.
Are you going to try all the recipes that come in?
We will only try the sandwiches that look as though they will have broad market appear. Entrants will have to create their sandwich using only ingredients on the menu, which are the highest quality available.
How long will the winner have their creation on the "special" menu?
At least a year. We hope the winning sandwich warrants leaving it there for eternity. There is always the chance it could become a Snarf's staple. Who knows!
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What are some of your favorite sandwich shops in Denver, not counting your own?
There are a lot of great options on the Front Range, but my top picks are Bonanno's place in the Highlands, Salt and Grinder (3609 West 32nd Avenue). His sandwich, the Frankie, with the three different meats, the burrata and arugula, makes a great sandwich and rises to the level of a Snarf's sandwich. Alex Seidel makes a braised short rib sandwich at Mercantile (1701 Wynkoop Street) that is delicious. Masterpiece (1575 Central Street) also makes a great sandwich. You can tell a lot of love goes into those.
How long have you been making sandwiches?
When I realized I couldn't find a really great sandwich with the quality I was looking for, I set out to create a better sandwich and share it with the world. I opened the first Snarf's Sandwiches in Boulder in 1996.
What is your favorite thing about eating and/or creating a sandwich?
I am the sandwich guy. It makes me happy to see the love and happiness in the eyes of people eating my sandwiches. You may be having a bad day, but you can choose to eat a really great sandwich and things always look a bit better. That's a beautiful thing.