JW Snack’s — Gulf coast goodness wins multiple local awards
There are few places less likely to boast a gulf coast Cajun eatery than the mountains of Colorado, and that’s exactly what compelled the owners of JW Snack’s Bar & Grill to open shop.
After just recently celebrating 10 years in business, JW Snack’s won a slew of awards through Best of Moffat County to prove its longevity in Craig, tying with Carelli’s Pizzeria for the most total first-place honors in the restaurant category for owners Danny and Teri Griffith.
The key is consistency, the couple said.
“Good food, good prices, good service,” Teri said of the focus on keeping things high quality.
Some tastes may change, but maintaining the same recipes is important, Danny noted.
“I want the general public to know if they come in for lunch for the first time, and it’s really good, when they come back in again, it will be just like it was,” he said.
JW earned the distinction of Best Outdoor Dining and Best Place to Watch the Game, a showcase of the duality of the location’s possibilities. During the warm months, the patio is alive with mirth at any point during the day, particularly as the live music of the Summer Concert Series takes over, while during football season, the energy is hardly lessened indoors as sports fans gather to cheer on their teams.
“Everybody gets a little fed up with cold and snow, so we wanted a place where somebody could go on a mini-vacation,” Danny said of the tropical vibe, which he hopes is the same in January or July.
Food-wise, JW Snack’s took Best Wings with an offering the restaurateur can’t help but brag about to people.
“We smoke them fully, let them cool, refrigerate them and cook them to order,” Danny said. “When the sauce is gone, the meat has its own standalone flavor. If you order them dry, they’re still a kick-ass wing.”
Bringing up such selections, as well as the barbecue, burgers, seafood and other items that make up the menu is Cherissee Murphy, who after working for the establishment for over a year — starting December 2014 — took Best Server.
“Hands down, what makes this place successful is our staff,” Danny said. “Cherissee is just as genuine as they get, and we’re fortunate to have her on our team. Great sense of humor, and if she ever complains, it’s because we’re not busy enough.”
Murphy said customers and coworkers are part of the reason she enjoys her job, though it’s the larger picture of JW Snack’s that she loves.
“We’re a family place, not just a bar, not just a restaurant, but you can bring your kids in any time of day and get that family service,” she said.
As for the fifth first-place award it won this year, it’s one the staff of JW takes seriously.
Best Bar is an honor, Danny said, not just because of being considered a standout by the community, but also because of the extra responsibility in taking care of customers.
“I’m fortunate enough to hold a liquor license, and we let everyone have as much fun as they possibly can without getting too out of hand,” Danny said.
The conundrum of owning a bar is letting people have a good time but also knowing when to step in and prevent bad choices.
“We preach all we can, buy taxi cabs rides, give people rides home, but we do anything we can to keep everybody out of trouble,” Danny said.
He added that as much as he likes to meet and greet people each day, the first thing he’d prefer to see the morning after a big weekend is a parking lot full of cars that were there the night before, an indicator that patrons chose not to get behind the wheel intoxicated.
“It warms my heart to see that,” he said, adding that a temporary inconvenience is much better than the alternative. “People are finally getting the message, and I love it.”
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It wouldn’t be a league event for Moffat County High School track and field athletes without bringing home some hardware, and the Bulldogs earned some metal last weekend.