Rise, shine and dine

The word “snooze” tends to invoke the sensation of gradually coming awake to a new day. While it might not traditionally invoke fine dining, the founders of a restaurant chain thought different. Snooze, an A.M. Eatery, opened in Denver in 2006, offering a breakfast menu and alcohol all week, 6:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.

The unique seasonal menu includes some 30-40 items, ranging from dishes like pineapple upside down pancakes to grain bowls topped with cage-free eggs. All the dishes are created by a master chef; on-site chefs supervise the restaurants now open in Colorado, Texas, Arizona, North Carolina and California.

CEO David Birzon says the idea originated with co-founder Jon Schlegel, who had worked in many fine dining restaurants and wanted to bring the same “quality of life” to a chef-driven morning restaurant.

Restaurants average 4,000 square feet and seat about 100 people, plus 40 more on an outside patio. Branding elements such as an orange “morning color” décor and logo, green shelves, comfortable booths and a “family-friendly” orange-topped full bar are the same in all restaurants; other design elements change to fit the neighborhood.

Snooze is very committed to its two pillars of sustainability and community, Birzon says. The chain currently purchases most of its food locally and composts or recycles about 93 percent of food, and Birzon says Snooze is “within a year or two of having zero landfill.” The company gives 1 percent of sales back to each of its local communities, he says, and this year will contribute over $1 million.

Snooze is opening about 12 restaurants a year, with the goal of having 54 by the end of 2020, 67 by the end of 2021 and ending 2022 with about 80 restaurants. It’s also expanding into more states including Missouri and Georgia.

Snooze, an A.M. Eatery
Denver, Colo.
Founders: Jon and Adam Schlegel; CEO: David Birzon
Locations: 41