Born from a ‘90s-themed pop up chomp, Come And Get It 2.0 is growing its new permanent roots on Queen St West. Restaurateur Jon Polubiec strives the keep the core alive, while improving and adding to it.
Hints of hip hop and ‘90s remain subtly intact with Nintendo décor decals and live entertainment (the talented DJ Class!ck takes to the turntables Fridays and Saturdays, while funk/soul/hip hop band Undrcovr takes requests on Tuesdays). However, if the first incarnation was a teenage fad, this rendition has a more sophisticated, grown up feel and appeal. Another aspect that remains is the fun menu format. The menu aims are approachable and understandable, creative but not intimidating. Rather than listing ingredients, descriptors lead the way for conversation. This is done consciously in an attempt to spark creative dialogue between staff and patrons. Select from seven flavors (the top six remaining the same with the seventh seasonal vegetable dish changing up, well, seasonally) and then mix and match with various formats (changing slightly between lunch and dinner). This setup caters to a wide variety of appetites from feasters to nibblers.
Cocktails and canapés are what I went for one Friday evening, and I ate every single bite. By that, I mean I sampled the bite version of every flavor option on the menu. See for yourself when the bite flight is added to the menu soon. Perfect for the indecisive glutton who wants it all, or group looking for a variety of nibbles.
While enjoying the fare, Jon sat and chatted.
What got you interest in the restaurant business?
Started with a summer job. I liked to cook at home so I asked for a job in a kitchen. Over time I fell in love with working on my feet, learning, tasting, eating. After university I got to travel Europe and was exposed to some old school mom and pop, family run food businesses that were engrained in the social fabric of old European cultures – all in their own unique independent way. I wanted to be a part of that so I decided one day I wanted to have a small business of my own, and it was going to be feeding people, we all need to eat right? I realized after opening two restaurants, that I didn’t just love the creation of a dish, but that dish, the atmosphere, service everything were evoking an emotion and I would be creating that. Over time, it turns into business creation and value creation. Turns out I like to create.
What’s your past experience?
Summer job started at Prego in Yorkville. After school, I did some traveling then worked with a high-end boutique caterer called The Moveable Feast. Went back to Italy to do some training and staging, then came back to work under Massimo Capra at Mistura. Then the opportunity on Spadina popped up.
Chicken Caesar Flatbread: supple chunks of chicken that have been brined in house with maple syrup and brown sugar then soaked in buttermilk for three days before being battered in cornmeal. The flatbread is topped with a creamy garlic aioli, green apple slivers, and thickly shaved parmesan.
How was the jump from pop up shop to permanent location?
Big change and big challenge. The first restaurant was always meant to be temporary so when I was looking at 2.0 I thought about all the things I wished 1.0 could have been. I had lunch on lock, but I wanted to boost weekend and evening sales. Focus on the quality and not as much as the quantity like on Spadina, yet keep it simple. The Spadina take out game was a great learning experience, but full service restaurant 20 hours a day, 7 days a week is next level. Trial by fire. Tons of mistakes along the way but that’s the fun part. Figuring it out, making changes, growing and evolving. Despite three different food services, and a fully stocked bar being different operationally from before, however, the core of the product is the same, if not better and we only made improvements to the lunch service.
What makes Come and Get it Stand Out?
Definitely our menu layout. It is focused on combinations of flavor profile and format. It’s what links our three services. You can have Hawaiian Pork Belly 10 different ways throughout the course of the week. As an Eggs Benedict for brunch with Pineapple Hollandaise, or for lunch as a sandwich with grilled pineapple salsa, or for bar snacks as a pork belly and pineapple skewer with hoisin glaze with a platter of pork crackling to crunch on. We also like to keep things casual. Yes, we do canapés and cocktails, but we also do pints and sliders. Not to mention music and goofy throwback pop culture references.
Anything we can look forward to from Come and Get It in the new year?
Patio! We are stoked that next summer we will have a back patio. All the political legwork is done, so it will just be crossing the Ts and dotting the Is, but when we’re up and running it will be rad.
I came and got it and will go to get it again…on the patio! Visit www.comeandgetit.ca for more info.