Energetic start for Lazy Dog

Highlands Ranch eatery opens with team ready to perform


It wasn’t easy. But Naomi Snoeck, general manager of the newest Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar location, thinks she’s prepared a team that’s ready to go above and beyond for customers in Denver’s south metro region.

The California-based chain opened its 44th restaurant, just south of C-470 and just west of Broadway, on Aug. 3. The casual dining eatery prides itself on serving hearty American comfort food with innovative twists and mountain town hospitality. Its latest outpost occupies the spot once held by C.B. & Potts in Highlands Ranch. It’s the fourth Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar to come to Colorado.

Hiring began six weeks ago, Snoeck told Colorado Community Media. Lazy Dog offered sign-on and referral bonuses in an effort to find good workers in a tough labor market. The referral bonuses encouraged employees to bring in the friends and family they’d want to work with, which Snoeck said helped her create a nice team.

“Don’t hire out of desperation,” she said she told herself during the process. “Hire the right fit for our culture.”

Her squad in Highlands Ranch is now over 200 people strong. At team meetings before the opening, Snoeck used cornhole, ring toss and other carnival-style games — plus lots of food — to get the front and back of the house familiar with each other and pulling together.

“They want to do a great job, and they’re so excited,” Snoeck said of her employees. “That’s what’s gonna set us apart here.”

Nestled between Village Inn and Prost Brewing at 43 Centennial Blvd., the new restaurant can seat up to 366 people. Its 8,427 square feet of indoor dining space uses stone and wood timbers to create a contemporary rustic feel. Its covered patio, which spans the south side of the building, features outdoor seating and two large fire pits.

All of Lazy Dog’s food and cocktails are made from scratch, Snoeck said. The goat cheese and pepper jelly appetizer, served with garlic parmesan crisps that are made in-house daily, is her favorite way to start a meal.

Executive chef Hector Meneses Vera recommends the barbecue bison meatloaf if you’re after something hearty, the spaghetti squash and “beetballs” for a meat-free entree, or the kung pao rice bowl if you want something a little different. Braised for a minimum of four hours, Lazy Dog’s pot roast comes as a sandwich, an entree with mashed potatoes and gravy, or as a frozen TV dinner.

Lazy Dog’s retro-style TV dinners are available for guests to take home after their meal or to pick up curbside like traditional takeout. The entrees, sides and desserts for the oven-ready meals are made right in the restaurant, packaged in three-compartment aluminum containers and frozen for short-term storage in customers’ freezers.

They come in handy on snowy nights, Vera said. The chef became familiar with the Centennial State’s winter weather when he started working for Lazy Dog two years ago.

“It’s a home-cooked meal, literally from scratch,” Snoeck said. “You just put it in the oven.”

Lazy Dog also offers a beer club. Members get quarterly, take-home beer kits that feature craft beers from breweries around the country. In the restaurant, participants get priority seating when there’s a wait, size upgrades on their draft beer orders and monthly beer samplers.

As part of its soft opening, Lazy Dog hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Northwest Douglas County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation and a small media dinner on Aug. 2.

highlands ranch businesses, lazy dog


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