Schnipper’s Bros Respond to Chest Bumping Accusations & Impending Shake Shack Invasion

I’m not sure if the New York Times cafeteria is back open after last week’s health scare, but Andrew Schnipper sent me an email last week wanting to make it clear that him and his brother would never take joy in the sickness of others. He also reiterated how excited they are to have the Shake Shack opening just 3 blocks away from their spot.

Hi Zach:

I hope you are well. I generally enjoy your blog and reading about your well thought out recommendations for midtown lunchers. I think you do a great job of discovering good values and interesting places for people to eat that they might not find on their own. However, I was disappointed [Thursday] regarding your comment that my brother and I would be “chest bumping” because we might get some extra business due to the fact that some people were made sick from a competitor. I can assure you we don’t ever want to see people get sick and certainly don’t want to benefit from it. Fortunately for us, business is great and we were busy [Thursday] as we usually are on a Thursday. And if we could help a neighbor and have prevented any food bourne illness, we would gladly do so. You clearly don’t know my brother and I well enough to think this would make us happy and I just wanted to set the record straight. I have no idea whether they have reopened the cafeteria, but let me be the first to tell you that I hope they did and that the employees who likely lost hours of pay yesterday will be back to work today.

But wait, there’s more.

As I said, I like your website but I do find there to often be a lot of hostility towards not just Schnipper’s but other places as well. Why all the anger (not necessarily from you but from your followers)? When was the last time you ate at our place? It takes time to get things right and I think we are putting out some awesome food (come try the chicken fingers and fries – for $6.99 I think it is one of the best deals in town because they are awesome). I know you think we are expensive (actually on a per ounce basis, our burgers are less than the Shake Shack). But it costs a lot to do what we do with the quality we offer. We have changed a lot since we opened – our mac and cheese is great and now comes in a smaller size for $3.99 which is a reasonably generous portion.

Btw, I love Shake Shack too and sanguine means we are optimistic and confident about their arrival. We are not just a burger place and I have spoken with both Danny Meyer and his partner David Swinghammer to wish them well. My feeling is they will bring more business to our neighborhood.

Anyway, I respect you and would love to break bread with you anytime and show you what we do and talk food, my favorite subject. All the best to you in the New Year. Regards,

Andrew Schnipper
Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen

Well I can’t speak for the Midtown Lunch’ers, but I’ve always been pretty kind to you guys! (Especially with regard to your excellent mac and cheese.) As for the chest bumping joke, it’s all in good fun. But next time I’ll be happy to say I saw Mr. Dean & Mrs. Deluca high fiving instead.

Schnipper’s May Have the Best Mac & Cheese in Midtown


  • Zach just got served!

  • People are too sensitive, joke a little people!

  • The fingers and fries are really only $6.99?

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    The fact that Mr. Schnipper devoted a lengthy paragraph to clarifying the existence of a “chest bump” is the reason that I never consider Schnipper’s when contemplating lunch. Zach’s original post was not a news report – it was a humorous illustration of how the Schnipper brothers might respond to increased volume. Instead of laughing, Mr. Schnipper actually entertains the notion that he and his brother may have been chest-bumping.

    Sounds like someone got caught red-handed and has a guilty conscious…

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    ^ guilty conscience

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    Online reps are easily blown up. I think his response is clearly presented and makes perfect sense.

    I actually remember reading Zach’s post and thinking “Hm, they shouldn’t worry about Shake Shack because increases in business density often increase the whole pie for everyone.” I also read Zachs comment about the chest bumping, and while I never thought it was literally true, I recall thinking “That’s kind of a dickish reason to celebrate more business.”

    So…I don’t see any reason to zing the guy for taking it seriously and setting the record straight. Imagine a Gawker headline like “Schnippers celebrates NY Times staffers sickness” with a small snippet from Zach and a link to the full post that no one wold click, and the outrage that would follow in the comment storm as suddenly Schnippers becomes the Lehigh Pub of Midtown for no good reason.

    All of which reminds me, I gotta get back there soon for some mac and cheese sloppy joe.

  • Why is everyone such a weenie these days??? SO PC and supersensitive…geez! If most ML’ers were like Mr. PC Whiney emailer, happy hour would be a complete disaster! Good thing I know Steve (from happy hour 1) is nothing like this!

  • I think he wrote a great letter and shouldnt be slammed for it. It strikes of professionalism and the responses are harsh and it seems no one trusts his motivation.

    I was at Schnippers last week. While it is pricey, (in my opinion), I think the food quality is excellent. I ordered a Sante Fe Salad for $11 or so. I picked it up when ready, and asked for another bowl to split it. The line manager, took it back and split if for me. It was enough for two people and tasted great. I’ll be back.

    Just my opinion.

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    “I think he wrote a great letter and shouldnt be slammed for it. It strikes of professionalism and the responses are harsh and it seems no one trusts his motivation.”

    Actually – his motivation is quite clear and serves as the basis for my criticism of his defense. Mr. Schnipper’s motivation is to clarify that he and his brother did not chest-bump in response to the closing of the NYT cafeteria. The fact that Mr. Schnipper was motivated to respond to a joke in this manner warrants a negative reaction.

    Professionalism mandates the ability to discern “serious attack” from “lighthearted joke”. Mr. Schnipper’s failure to do so in this instance is the opposite of professionalism.

  • Not a slam @Schnipps, but I did get an amusing mental image from Zach’s funny comment, and these guys didn’t really need to defend themselves. It was a joke, dammit. I’ll confess I have not eaten there, because I fled the Times Bldg. before they opened up.

  • Goats I am totally shocked and appalled by what you just said!

    You have no business saying that in this forum.

  • A fan of Schnipper’s but do think it’s a bit pricey for a fried burger. Consider flame broiling?

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