Dave Snyder, EXECUTIVE CHEF
Chef Dave Snyder is Executive Chef at Haylards
Following graduation from the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, he moved to New York City, gaining experience and sharpening his skills at The Essex House, Zoe, Union Square Café, and The Mark—serving under top chefs who prided themselves on training the next generation.
Heading south, Dave became executive chef at Azalea in Atlanta before moving to St. Simons Island, Georgia, as chef at J Mac’s. In 2000, he opened Halyards on St. Simons, opened Tramici in 2006, and most recently introduced the island to Latin street fare at La Plancha to celebrate his Colombian heritage. Today, along with Halyards Catering and Hook & Knife Charters, Dave’s three restaurants comprise Halyard Restaurant Group.
These restaurants, perennially ranked the island’s and region’s most popular, enable Dave to share his love of hospitality, food, and how the two intertwine to create memorable culinary experiences. His monthly cooking classes further communicate his passion—how great food enhances life.
Drawing on his relationships with local fishermen and farmers, Dave demonstrates to eager guests that the best ingredients make a tremendous difference in food quality, in the sustainability of the environment, and in the financial strength of the local economy. He serves on the Advisory Panel for Snapper/Grouper Species for the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and has worked with the South Atlantic Fishermen’s Association to improve the sustainability and health of the South Atlantic, the availability of local fish, and the financial future and heritage of the fishing industry.
The Georgia Restaurant Association named Dave a finalist for Restaurateur of the Year in 2012 and selected him as one of four chefs to represent the GRA’s Georgia Grown program in 2013. In 2014, Dave was selected to serve on the Board of Directors for the Georgia Restaurant Association. Halyards and Tramici were named 2014 Businesses of the Year by the Brunswick and Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce.
Dave has self-published a cookbook and retails a house-made marinara sauce from the recipe he created for Tramici. His other projects include plans to grow olives and produce extra virgin olive oil for use at Halyard restaurants. Dave also loves to venture to Islamorada in the Florida Keys—his home away from home.
Deeply devoted to community service, Dave serves on the Board of Directors for the Chamber of Commerce, Coastal Symphony of Georgia, The Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Georgia, and Hospice of the Golden Isles. Dave is a founding board member of the St. Simons Food & Spirits Festival, benefiting Hospice of the Golden Isles. He also serves on the Culinary Board for the College of Coastal Georgia and is an active supporter of local numerous area organizations including The St. Simons Land Trust, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and The Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia. He is additionally involved in events and fundraisers at local schools where he hopes to inspire the next generation of chefs and restaurant leaders.
One of Dave’s newest ventures, Hook & Knife Charters, combines his skills and passion for fishing with his love of preparing and serving catches to delighted charter guests at his restaurants. To learn more about these unique experiences, visit HookandKnifeCharters.com.
Thomas Roberts, GENERAL MANAGER
Thomas Roberts is General Manager at Halyards
Thomas comes to us from Ocean Forest on Sea Island and is both a Certified Sommelier through the global standard Court of Master Sommeliers and a Certified Hospitality Supervisor by the American Hotel and Lodging Association. We are lucky to have him on board.
Thomas brings seventeen years of business experience and is eager for new adventures. “It was time for me to come back to why I have always loved the hospitality and restaurant industry,” he explains. “I look forward to building relationships, time with friends, and most importantly—family. Halyards has the energy, vibe, excitement, and sense of community I love. I’ve known Dave for over fifteen years and consider it a privilege to work alongside him. I respect his approach: Dave looks at his team members as family and makes sure each has what they need to thrive and succeed in their role. The way Halyard Restaurant Group embraces and supports our St. Simons Island community is incredible—and I look forward to contributing to that.”
Thomas has been a resident of St. Simons since 1991 and has wonderful memories of spending summers as a child on the island with his grandparents. When he’s not working, he’s an avid skateboarder and snowboarder. Thomas is married to Hannah, a jewelry and pottery designer, and they have one daughter. Look for Hannah’s art in local boutiques and craft fairs around the Golden Isles.