There are valid reasons why the hamburger’s an American staple. Namely, it’s simple to chef up, it’s the first things everyone requests when they arrive at a friend’s barbecue, and it’s versatile (ever hear of a burger topped with beer-battered apples, gooey peanut butter, and melted cheddar?). So, for this week’s Wine & Food Festival Q&A of the Week, we bring you Schweid & Sons, a fourth-generation, family-owned, beef supplier that has provided top-notch beef to butchers and restaurants in New York City. They’re also providing most of the beef that’ll be on hand at W&F’s June 9 Burger & Beer Blast. Here, we have Jamie Schweid, President and CEO of Schweid & Sons, discussing his company’s dedication to its beef, how they’ve evolved over the past 40 years, and what they’re doing to ensure the Burger & Beer Blast lives up to its title.
What’s your primary philosophy when it comes to grinding the best beef?
Put good meat into the burgers, good things will come out; that’s been a commitment my father passed on to my brother and I as we continued to expand and grow the business. The other part of why we’re making the best burgers is our process. We are into continuous improvement and understanding how we can make a low-pressure grind on the meat so we’re not overworking the meat.
From left: Brad Schweid, EVP; Jamie Schweid, President and CEO; and founder/family patriarch David Schweid doing what they do best.
Is Westchester uniquely burger-crazed?
Westchester is a huge market for us. We’ve been in the restaurant business for four generations, and just recently we’ve gotten into county supermarkets, and because of that we [participate] in events in Westchester, and there’s always a tremendous turnout.
How have you managed to survive four decades in the business?
I would say technology is a real area where we feel it’s important to get out and engage with our customers, and most importantly, create transparency. We actually just did a burger-trends report. We interviewed about 20,000 customers and got some real great insight into what types of burgers they prepare and how they prepare them.
How are you using that info?
We typically share information and insights about the industry with our restaurant partners that they might not know. By sharing what Westchester customers want, they can get a feeling about what’s going on around the county.
Lastly, let’s say one of the vendors cooking with your beef at the Beer Blast wins. How will you guys celebrate?
Well, certainly celebrate with a beer. I think it’s their win, their victory, we’re just a small portion of it. So, we’ll ride their coattails. Whatever they want to do celebrate, whether that be splashing some beer all over each other, or just sipping on one, I’m more than happy to engage in any celebration. And look, hopefully the best burger wins. Isn’t that the point?