Founded by Andrew and Jonathan Schnipper, Schnippers was launched after the brothers sold Hale & Hearty Soups — which they founded — in 2006. Schnippers started with a single location in the New York Times Building at 41st & 8th. Now, Schnippers has five locations in Manhattan, the latest of which opened in TriBeCa.
While there are many quick-serve establishments in Manhattan where someone can get a great burger, one thing that sets Schnippers apart from its competitors that its menu also includes healthier fare. Schnippers has salads, fruit salad, and even some gluten-free fare. But this time of year, when indulging isn’t so taboo, it must be noted that Schnippers has a Latke Burger ready for the holiday season. Undoubtedly that would go well with a handcrafted milkshake; Schnippers uses Gifford’s Family premium hard ice cream for its shakes.
Downtown had the pleasure of conducting Q&A with Andrew Schnipper, ultimately learning more about Schnippers’ past, present and future. More info on the family-owned Schnippers can be found at www.schnippers.com, and as noted by Andrew — a graduate of Tufts — menu items and other updates can be found on the company’s Instagram.
Schnippers recently opened its fifth location. Was it always the plan to have multiple locations?
Andrew Schnipper: When my brother Jonathan and I opened our first Schnippers location in The New York Times Building in 2009, we were cautiously optimistic that our “feel good food” would catch on. We had been successful at expanding Hale & Hearty Soups previously, and hoped that hard work and good luck would be in our favor again. With that said, the restaurant industry in New York is tough — and getting tougher — so we never took anything for granted. We’re thankful to have five busy outposts of Schnippers and look forward to continued, thoughtful expansion.
Was Schnippers always going to be the name of the restaurant?
AS: It actually wasn’t our first choice! We spent several months coming up with potential names for the restaurant, but we just couldn’t think of anything that we liked better. As it’s a real family-owned restaurant, friends kept encouraging us to name it Schnippers, and it stuck!
How did you and your brother realize that you were going to go into business together? Has anyone else in your lineage worked within the food world?
AS: My brother and I are different in almost every way, but when it comes to food, we’ve always seen eye to eye. Our family was not in the restaurant business, but our mother always cared about what she put on the table. She would bring us to the butcher shop to get the best cuts of meat to make our favorite childhood dish: sloppy joes. We serve an updated, elevated version of her recipe at Schnippers.
Jonathan and I have been business partners since 1995 — our differences are complementary and it just works. I couldn’t imagine doing this with anyone else.
If all went as planned, is there hope to expand further in Manhattan in the future? Move into other cities?
AS: For now, we’re perfectly content in Manhattan. Never say never, though!
Hale & Hearty Soups, which you co-founded, is not only known for its restaurants but for having store-sold products. Are there plans for Schnippers to also do that?
AS: Not at the moment.
Both Schnippers and Hale & Hearty are known as “fast-casual” restaurants. What inspired that concept? I mean, it seems like more restaurants in Manhattan are of that style these days than not.
AS: When we launched Hale & Hearty in 1995, fast casual wasn’t a trend yet — there were hardly any places in New York to go for high-quality, healthy and delicious meals that were also quick and easy to eat on the go. People in New York are incredibly busy and it has always been our goal, at both Hale & Hearty and Schnippers, to fit seamlessly into their daily routines. We’re glad to see that the trend has caught on.
What sets Schnippers apart from other concepts is that we truly have something for everyone, whether that means a burger before a Broadway show, a nutritious salad for lunch during the workweek, or an indulgent feast of fries and milkshakes on a Saturday afternoon with your kids — we’ve got you covered!
What is your favorite item on the Schnippers menu?
AS: I love our chicken fingers; honestly I think they’re the best in the city. They’re also unintentionally gluten-free.
New TriBeCa location aside, anything new or exciting coming up for Schnippers? New menu items?
AS: We’ve started rolling out special menu items every week at our 23rd Street location. We’re also offering a special Latke Burger for the holiday season. You can follow our Instagram for details about both.
Schnippers aside, what is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan?
AS: I’m a big fan of the Polo Bar.
When not busy with Schnippers, how do you like to spend your free time?
AS: I spend most of my free time with my family; my wife Andrea and our two daughters Isabel and Julia. Although they are the center of my world, my golden retriever Tucker is right in there, too. I enjoy spending hours in Central Park with him and the kids. I also enjoy biking, hiking, and experiencing the great outdoors just about anywhere.
Any upcoming concerts or events you have tickets for in Manhattan?
AS: Unfortunately not at the moment, but I want to try and take my kids to see Jingle Ball next week. I love seeing Billy Joel at the Garden whenever I can. I MUST see Hamilton one of these days; Lin-Manuel Miranda has been to Schnippers on 8th Avenue a few times, but I unfortunately missed him.
Finally, Andrew, any last words for the kids?
AS: Find what you are passionate about and go for it. Be healthy, but remember that eating what makes you happy is just as important as eating healthy. Balance is critical but always eat what makes you feel good.