Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen is Madison Square Park’s newest culinary neighbor. Schnipper’s recently provided a delicious lunch of Bobby Flay’s Throwdown famous sloppy joes, sinful macaroni and cheese and more to the Credit Suisse volunteers who decorated the Park for Mad. Sq. Holiday. A few days before, co-owner Andrew Schnipper sat down with Madison Square Park Conservancy to answer a few questions.
How long have you been open at this location?
We opened up this location on September 23rd. So if I’m not mistaken we are in our 9th or 10th week.
How has your experience been so far?
It’s been great. We love the neighborhood. For every restaurant that I’ve ever owned, every neighborhood is a little different; the people are a little different. And I’d never say I’ve ever operated in a neighborhood that is difficult, but this neighborhood is particularly fantastic. The people are very friendly, very supportive. We’ve had a lot of well wishes come in. People seem to like what we’re doing, so all around the experience has been great. We’re busy, we’re happy. It’s good all around.
What drew you to this area?
We’ve been enamored with this area. My brother and I both live in NYC. So we spent a lot of time in different parts of the city, including Flatiron. I can remember when Madison Square Park was nothing like it is today. Which isn’t that long ago. We just found ourselves spending more and more time down here on a personal level. Whether it was shopping, dining – there are fantastic restaurants, spending some time in the park, I’ve brought my kids down here on numerous occasions. We really like the area a lot. We can really see that it’s dynamic. It looks like its only getting better. I know people always wonder what that means, because it’s not bad by any means. It’s fantastic already. Its just getting more developed. There seems to be more retail and more restaurants. From a business standpoint there’s a lot of traffic down here. We look for different types of traffic patterns, everything from workers to tourists to neighborhood businesses and shoppers. There’s a lot of over that overlapping in this one little piece of Manhattan. We’re really happy to be here.
What do you enjoy about working near Madison Square Park?
The great thing is being able to get out and take a walk. We opened in September and we were building through the summer, so we got a chance to spend time in the Park. The transportation is quite easy here, also. We own another restaurant in Times Square so it’s very easy for me to get there; it’s equally easy to get up and down from the Upper East Side. Besides that, whenever I need to run an errand it’s very often in this neighborhood. Whether it’s in paragon whether we’re running to Eataly to bring something home for the family. Whatever the case might be, there is just so much here.
What is Schnipper’s known for?
For a variety of different things, our specialty is really our burgers. Burgers are something that we put a lot of emphasis on. They are surely the item we sell the most of, but having said that we are pretty well know for our sloppy joe as well. We did a Throwdown with Bobby Flay on the Food Network about two years ago, which was a lot of fun and brought a lot of fame to our sloppy joe. My brother has probably worked on the recipe since the time our mother made them for us as a kid and he has dramatically improved upon it. It’s something we sell a lot of. Something that surprised us is that we sell a lot of salads and sandwiches. To some degree what we are selling is an experience. We’re serving American classic foods that are made the right way. There is nothing that is an afterthought if it’s on the menu. It’s meant to be fantastic. Its meant to be the way you would want it made or the way you would make it at home. The burgers are probably the number one thing we sell, but everything else is not far behind.
You’re providing lunch for some volunteers in Mad. Sq. Park this Friday. Is this your first experience working with the Mad. Sq. Community and what interested you in this opportunity?
It is our first experience, being newcomers to the neighborhood. A big attraction for us, and I think a big attraction for a lot of people coming to this area is the park. So operating a retail business in the neighborhood, I think supporting the park is great. I think the Park has changed this entire neighborhood. I don’t think the entire area would be what it is, if you were to take the park away from it. You can’t disassociate it. So the park to me is very essential to this Schnipper’s location because obviously we are looking to build our business. I think the people that are working in the park do such a fantastic job of up-keeping it, maintaining it. I can only imagine how hard the work is – it is a public park and a lot of people go through it, so I’m sure that a lot of work goes into it to make it look as great as it does. As far as providing food to the volunteers – we’re in the holiday season and I think everyone volunteering to decorate the park is just so great that we wanted to be a part of it.
Anything Else you would like to add?
We’re thrilled to be here and we’re looking forward to many years of working with the conservancy. I don’t know if the park can get any better, but I’m sure you’re working on it.
We’re definitely working on it! Thank you so much for sitting down with us and we look forward to working with you as well.