Ever find someone cool on Instagram and 'go down the rabbit hole'? Meet Sparrow & Wolf's and Half Bird's co-creator and culinary expert, chef Brian
Off The Strip Staff: Hi Brian! Will you be our Insta BFF?
@Chefbrianhoward: Of course!
OTS Staff: By day, you are …
Chef Brian Howard: A husband , father, psychologist, dishwasher, creator of all things fun and delicious, LOL 😂 and play restaurateur
OTS Staff: By night, you are …
Howard: Still catching up from the day, taking care of guests, sometime[s] make it home for dinner. Every now and then practice Jiu Jitsu and try to always tuck my boy in for bed.
OTS Staff: Wow! Sounds like you keep yourself very busy. How did you get into practicing Jiu Jitsu?
Howard: Most definitely! Time is all we have. I try to ensure the best and most impactful ways to use it. I love to give back, help people and see them grow and along the way just be a bit better than I was yesterday.
Howard: Oddly enough my 7-year-old son took up Jiu jitsu, I saw it and fell in love. [It has] very similar core values to what we carry in the kitchen. It’s been the best thing for me. It’s cleansing for the mind and pushes you to your limits, there’s no time to think about anything else do for that hour and a half it’s the best break I can get.
OTS Staff: That’s very inspiring! It’s really interesting how it shares core values that are similar to the ones you carry in the kitchen.
OTS Staff: How many years have you been on Instagram?
Howard: Awareness, community, discipline, teamwork, risk, integrity, respect and excellence are all things we pride ourselves on in the restaurant, you can see how these cross over. I’ve been on Insta for some years now.
OTS Staff: What is your most popular post? And why do you think it almost broke the internet?
Howard: Well, oddly enough, it was a copper river salmon “chop” I posted a while back for a competition I was involved in that had 113k impressions; however, [the] one I’m most proud of that truly had some reach was the #sparrowandwolfchallenge during the pandemic. It reached people from all over the world.
OTS Staff: Wow! That’s amazing and one of the special things about the internet. People can connect with one another from all around the world.
OTS Staff: How does having a social media presence help your business?
Howard: Totally! I think that’s what I love most. To be honest, social media is incredible for our business because of impact it has on your reach, how you engage a certain demographic vs. others. Worst case scenario, people can decide for themselves if our content is in ticking enough for them to come in, LOL.
“I think Las Vegas deserves more love nationally, but I’m super happy to open up my humble neighborhood spots everyday because I know I have a big group of support around me!”Chef Brian Howard
OTS Staff: If you could change one thing about Instagram, what would it be and why?
Howard: That’s a great question. I’m not sure I have any real complaints; however, the amount of fake accounts that reach out to scam you is annoying.
OTS Staff: That’s a good point! There are so many bots.
OTS Staff: When you are creating a new menu, where do you look for inspiration?
Howard: I find inspiration through everything. A lot of the times it comes from conversations about food with our team. We discuss places in time, locations and ingredients and how they are use all over the world. It could be walking on the ocean or the macro look at a garden. Most of the time it’s really simple. What’s the best product we can get and how can we showcase it at its best? I love to use bold and big flavors that hit every point of your tastebuds.
OTS Staff: It’s really cool how you integrate you and your team’s food and life experiences into the menu. There are so many foodie accounts, what is the secret to maintaining an engaging Instagram feed?
Howard: Thank you. Cooking should be fun and a team sport whenever you can. Hmm, I’m honored anyone would think that; however, I think the biggest thing is solid photography, being real and having a message to some degree. I utilize mine strictly to post things that are important to me that might bring happiness or help someone else’s day. Or just things that are just fun.
OTS Staff: Thank you for the advice! What is your favorite thing about being a part of the local culinary scene?
Howard: I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Las Vegas Culinary scene. It’s continuing to grow and I love to see my friends doing great things. We all are here to help each other along the way as well. I think Las Vegas deserves more love nationally, but I’m super happy to open up my humble neighborhood spots everyday because I know I have a big group of support around me!
Howard: That’s all the time I have I’m afraid I have to get back to my opening of Half Bird. I want to thank you for thinking of me.
OTS Staff: Thank you so much!
Looking for a clucking good time? Half Bird is a Wholly Delicious Concept.