BIRMINGHAM – “From day one, we were blown away by how many people came in the door and the reviews we were getting,” said David Snyder, who with his wife, Andrea, founded Urban Cookhouse, a farm-to-fire-to-table, fast-casual restaurant. Since Urban Cookhouse first opened in Homewood in 2010, the brand has spread to 10 other cities in the Southeast. David and Andrea Snyder own a licensee group that includes the original Homewood restaurant along with The Summit, downtown Birmingham and Tuscaloosa locations.
“Great products, smart expansion and incredible sales per square foot” earned the Snyders and Urban Cookhouse the title of Alabama’s 2017 Silver Retailer of the Year in the Annual Sales $5 Million to $20 Million category. The Alabama Retail Association honored them today
at the Retail Day luncheon in Birmingham, which is held in cooperation with the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business. In 2012, the Snyders were the inaugural winners of the Gee Emerging Retailer of the Year Award. That year, the Birmingham Business Alliance also named Urban Cookhouse as its Emerging Business of the Year. BBA nominated the Snyders as Retailers of the Year.
A simple “wow” was the Retailer of the Year judges’ comment on the past year’s performance and expansion of the 7-year-old business. The Snyders opened the Tuscaloosa location Dec. 21, 2016, and the downtown Birmingham restaurant Feb. 6 of this year. By the end of 2017, their original location will have moved a couple of blocks away, doubled its seating and added a drive-through window. The Snyders also are launching Farm Bowl + Juice Co., a new concept that will serve acai berry bowls, oatmeal bowls, cold-pressed juices and smoothies.
Urban Cookhouse is known for its woodfired meats cooked on Big Green Eggs and farm-fresh produce. The Snyders have growers’ agreements with six farms, sponsor a summer farmers market at The Summit that connects local farmers directly to their customers and host an appreciation dinner at their home for a dozen farmers. “We like to take farm-to-table to not just buying from farmers, but supporting them in any way that we can,” said Andrea. David adds, “Farmers are so dependent on the weather and outside factors, anything that they can hold onto to as a known, makes their life easier.”
“The whole idea for Urban Cookhouse came from my experience as a child growing up and my granddad farming. I got to taste farm-fresh vegetables put together on a plate with other great food and see the difference that it made in flavor,” said David.
The Urban Cookhouse, an Alabama Retail Association member since 2011, was one of 14 Retailers of the Year honored at today’s luncheon. This year’s winners came from a pool of more than 90 nominees. The Alabama Retailer of the Year awards program, started in 1999, honors outstanding retailers who have demonstrated growth, innovation and a commitment to their respective communities.
“David and Andrea Snyder are retailers of the year EVERY year to the Urban Cookhouse customers, their 142 employees as well as the Homewood, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and surrounding communities,” said Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown.
The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Through sales of food, clothing, furniture, medicine and more, our 4,200 independent merchant and national company members touch almost every aspect of daily living. Since 1943, we’ve worked to promote what’s best for the retail industry in Alabama. Whether voicing the retail view when public policy is made, educating members about issues that impact them, negotiating rates for benefits and services or communicating the retail story, the Alabama Retail Association and its members are better together.