Customer Spotlight: Refinery Public House
Refinery Public House is known to be the local watering hole for students, families, “the drinking crowd”, and locals in the Etobicoke area.
We spoke with Jon (Head Chef) and Andy (Head Bartender) to get to know Refinery a little better and discuss building a personality for the area, what it’s like working with a tight-knit team, and how ChefHero has changed the way they procure supplies.
What brought you to Refinery - why a pub?
[Jon] Evan and Sam (owners) had approached me based on the re-open of Refinery saying that they needed a kitchen manager and I immediately said that I was interested. But, with me, you’re not getting a kitchen manager you’re getting a chef. I would take the entire menu and transform it from the general pub with premade frozen foods that you just buy and sell and create a new entire menu from scratch with a focus on health, affordable food and accessibility for everybody.
What is Refinery best known for?
[Andy] Refinery is best know for our vibe. There’s nothing else like this pub/bar/restaurant on the street. I think that this area is still trying to figure itself out and we’re trying to help with that. I have lived in this area my entire life and I believe that right now this is the best this place has been and I’d like to think that Refinery has played a role in that, so that’s great!
[J] We’ve got a wide range of customers, from local students to families, it’s a little bit of everybody and that’s what I like most about this restaurant. It’s very homey and I think that that’s what our strength is.
What sets Refinery apart from other restaurants?
[A] I think our overall personality. People come in from all over just to come and have specific dishes of food, as well as to visit specific people working that day. It’s a very personal experience here, you know everyone by name. It’s like Cheers but in 2018.
[J] The freedom that we have. We don’t really have a limit on the type of music that we play. We also don’t discriminate against our crowd, our music, our food. We just want a space that’s successful and welcoming for everybody. We want all of our customers to have a second home, the way that we have a second home. We’re always here, we’re a family and we want you to join our family!
How would you compare working with the Refinery team to some of your past teams?
[J] I am so proud to be working with this team. I have been in the industry for about 16 years now and I’ve had a lot of really good teams but nothing so tight-knit and family oriented. We have a small staff here and we do make it work skeleton style and the only way we can attain that is by being together and tight like a family. Lots of communication, lots of friendliness, hanging out with each other—that’s it!
Why did you choose to partner with ChefHero?
[J] We used to go through a major broadliner and as a smaller business, we became more of a number and less of a client. If we needed something like chicken tenders, we would take a back seat to a larger establishment. That left a very impersonal relationship between the two of us.
With ChefHero, I have reps and members from different teams reaching out to me to make sure everything is going smoothly. You definitely feel like you’re taken care of with ChefHero.
It’s also created an elevation in my food quality as well as a lot of savings. Just by the switch [from a major broadliner] we have saved about $600 a week.
How has ChefHero changed the way you source supplies?
[J] It’s the one-stop-shop. I can just pull up my app and open up my computer and instead of going directly to the company that I’m looking for, I can just search for a product and have several options as opposed to just the one. I can choose accordingly based on the brand, quality and price. It’s very comparable within itself.
Planning a visit to Refinery soon? Here are some insider tips:
[J] My signature dish at Refinery would be the Jambalaya. It has always been a favorite of mine. The different styles of meat, the Cajun flavoring, it’s very warm and hardy. It reminds me of my mom’s shepherds pie - it’s got that body of love right in it. Many customers come in just for that specific dish.
[A] For first-timers, I have a beverage called the Refinery 2.0. One of the main ingredients in it is a blackberry ginger ale and there’s no drink out there that I’m aware of that uses this ingredient and it’s something that you just have to try - it’s amazing! I would also try out our Cider Sangria. (Take a look at the video below to see how it’s made!)