Five odd questions with Toro Toro’s Steve Hartzell


This culinary school dropout cooked at Zengo and Potenza before becoming the chef de cuisine of Richard Sandoval’s Toro Toro (1300 I St. NW), opening Monday. We grilled the grill master.

Name an album you know by heart.
Blind Melon’s first album [“Blind Melon”]. I have a tattoo of one of the lyrics. It says “No time frame.”

Is there a food you can’t stand?
Yellow mustard. I’ve hated it since I was a kid. My mom always used to sneak it into her meatloaf and I could always tell.

What is your favorite article of clothing?
I have a pair of jeans that are this thin. They have random patches all over them, like a flag with a peace sign instead of the stars. They’re my hippie jeans.

Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Milky Way Midnight bars. If Reese’s ever came out with dark-chocolate peanut butter cups, oh boy. [Editor’s note: They have!]

How old would you say you are at heart?
I definitely don’t feel 40.

Holley Simmons is the dining editor of Express. When she’s not reporting on local restaurants and tastemakers, you can find her sewing a dress from a 1950s pattern or planting a windowsill herb garden. Contact her at



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Marissa Payne · March 26, 2014