Claremore Main Street Tavern Chef Aaron Snoddy didn’t always know he had a passion for making food.
He stumbled into it as a sophomore, attending high school in Jacksonville, Arkansas. Although he had every intention of going to college, he took a technical school class in cooking.
“My parents never really taught me how to cook. I took this class so when I went to college I could fend for myself,” Aaron said. “While I was there, I fell in love with it. It was something I really liked doing. It turned from something that was really practical into something I was passionate about.”
Aaron attended the Art Institute of Dallas Culinary School, and worked at a handful of restaurants in the city, learning the trade.
“Dallas is an insanely competitive market,” Aaron said.
Most large and high-end restaurants recruit and retain well-trained chefs for the length of their careers, with job openings for incoming professionals few and far between.
Aaron’s girlfriend, now wife, Livia was from Tulsa, and so Aaron decided to move to Tulsa with her, helping a Dallas-based restaurant open their Tulsa location.
“I started to fall in love with Tulsa, and Oklahoma itself,” Aaron said. “It plays into my small-town roots while still having all of the amenities a big city gives.”
In their personal life, Aaron and Livia desperately wanted children and were trying to conceive, but it wasn’t working. They’d done fertility testing and believed they could never have children.
They were starting to make peace with that reality, when they found out she was pregnant.
“Like Bob Ross said, ‘happy little accidents.’”
As the due date approached, Aaron got a job offer from Main Street Tavern.
“Jason, the owner, was very supportive,” Aaron said. Scarpa Restaurant Concepts, parent company of Main Street Tavern gave Aaron two weeks leave right off the bat to make sure his wife had everything she needed for the safe and healthy birth of their miracle child.
They named their daughter Clara, a nod to the British Television Show Doctor Who, and a character known as “the Impossible Girl.”
“Our daughter was never supposed to happen, and yet, there she is,” Aaron said.
Clara celebrated her second birthday in February, and was followed by her baby brother Luca.
“We weren’t supposed to have any kids, and now we have a boy and girl,” Aaron said. “They are both amazing kids.”
Aaron quickly gave up old hobbies like soccer, weight lifting and Dungeons and Dragons, in favor of spontaneous day trips to the zoo, the aquarium, and the Gathering Place.
With places closed due to COVID, Aaron said, “we’ve gone through so much sidewalk chalk.”
“I’ve really fallen in love with being a dad. It’s fun. And I like knowing when I get home, my kids are there,” Aaron said.
On nights where Aaron gets home at a reasonable time, he find joy in letting Livia, a stay-at-home mom, get some rest.
“In my opinion, she has the hard job,” Aaron said. “Her job is way harder than mine.”
Aaron’s job as a chef is organizing the kitchen staff, keeping track of inventory, and running a smooth, clean kitchen. Like most jobs on the management end of the restaurant business, the work is fast-paced and hands-on for often more than 50 hours a week.
“The long hours are long,” Aaron said, “But when you have a good system and good crew, which I do, it makes the long hours not as long.”
“Over the last almost two and a half years, I’ve been able to put a great team together,” Aaron said. “I am able to rely on my team and trust them when I’m not here. When I’m at home I can worry about home.”
There are many great dishes on the Main Street Tavern menu. Aaron’s favorite is the Chicken Club, add Avocado.
“We have some amazing entrees,” Aaron said. “People really like our mahi mahi and our steak, but there is something about a well put together sandwich.”
The part of his job where Aaron’s training and talent shine is in creating the weekend specials, which include some much beloved favorites. For Father’s Day, Aaron’s 8-ounce sirloin with maple bourbon pork belly, duck fat mashed potatoes, and asparagus was a crowd pleaser.
Another best seller in Claremore is Aaron’s espresso rub ribeye.
“It’s me giving something to somebody, and them enjoying it. … I really like making people happy, and this is just one of the ways that I can,” Aaron said. “I love it when somebody eats something that I’ve cooked and are wowed by it. It’s the way I take care of people. My wife says it’s my love language.”