Row 14 isn't the only eatery that's taken up residence on the ground floor of the Spire. Just around the corner, Organic Pizza Co. turns out take-home pies, and next door to that is an outpost of Snarf's Sub Shop, the beloved sandwich shop that got its start when Jim Seidel opened his first sub shack in Boulder in 1996. (The Colorado-based chain recently crossed state lines, with locations now in Chicago and St. Louis.) I used to frequent the original Snarf's on Pearl Street when I lived in Boulder, so when a sandwich craving hit one day last week, I stopped by the Spire store for a late lunch.
The crew still seemed to be reeling from the lunch rush and had yet to wipe stray crumbs from abandoned tables. Although this location, which opened in May, has a decidedly more corporate feel than the grimy, homey Boulder shop, the vibe manages to translate — and it helps that the Spire spot is manned by a young staff that looks incredibly 4/20-friendly. The cement-floored space holds just a handful of tables and a counter decorated with a mosaic, where you order from the handwritten list of twenty or so sandwiches and then pick up your white-paper-wrapped lunch when your name is called.
And thankfully, this address also upholds the reputation of Snarf's sandwiches. The chain does a few things really right: It has a good filling-to-bread ratio, uses high-quality meats and vegetables, and relies on a broiler to give the outside of each sandwich an excellent, toasty crunch. But what really sets Snarf's apart is its housemade giardiniera, a spicy mix of marinated carrots, celery and peppers that can — and should — be added to anything you order.
Snarfs Sub Shop
891 14th Street
I asked for a hefty portion of it on the Italian sandwich, a thick packet of thinly sliced salami, pepperoni, capicola, mortadella and provolone cheese, along with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and the pepper mix, all shoved between two halves of a toasty baguette. I ate the sandwich with smug superiority, since my companion had skipped the giardiniera. While his brisket was great, thanks to the thick, tangy sauce that coated the tender meat, it just didn't have the same spicy smack.
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Whether in a shack or a sexy condo complex, Snarf's makes a solid sub. Just remember to order the giardiniera.