Snarf's doesn't often come up on the list of Colorado's fast-casual exports. While the image of the the a funky little sandwich shop that started in Boulder in 1996 under the guidance of sandwich fanatic Jim Seidel is still important to the company, Snarf's has slowly been infiltrating Denver's neighborhoods -- and beyond. With the most recent branch of Snarf's set to open at 38th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard in the next few weeks, the list has grown to 21 current and under-construction locations, with eight of those outside of Colorado -- Austin, Chicago and St. Louis, to be exact.
"Our model is to fit into the neighborhood," says Seidel. "We're not trying to cookie-cutter these things." Out of all of the current Snarf's, only one is located in a new build; the others have all gone into renovated properties with historic or retro charm. The new Snarf's, straddling the edge of the West Highland and Berkeley neighborhoods, make use of a pagoda-roofed building that was once part of a chain of a dozen or so convenience stores in the middle of the last century.
"It's going to be one of our coolest," Seidel states. "It's a cool, funky building that needed to be preserved."
Work on the run-down, former convenience store has been slow, he adds. "It never goes as planned. I bought that building five years ago."
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In addition to this location, Snarf's is expanding in Boulder, with stores in progress on Table Mesa Drive and in Gunbarrel. Seidel is also working on a lease in the Denver Tech Center. A third store just opened in Chicago, with a fourth on its way, and he just inked two deals in Austin. What do all of the locations have in common? "I grew up in St. Louis," say Seidel. "And after college I lived in Chicago for ten years." As for Austin, he adds: "It's so much like Boulder -- funky, cool and laid back."