LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. — Jaryd Hearn recently rejoined the staff of the Polo Grill and Bar, a Lakewood Ranch-based restaurant serving American cuisine with a global soul, as its new executive chef.
Hearn, who also resides in Lakewood Ranch, returns to Polo Grill and Bar after working two years for world-renowned Michelin 3-star restaurant Alinea, in Chicago, where he worked his way up the ranks to sous chef.
Hearn first joined the Polo Grill and Bar team in the fall 2012 as a trainee while studying at Keiser University before eventually landing an apprenticeship. He spent the next three years learning under Polo Grill and Bar proprietor and chef Tommy Klauber, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Jaymie Klauber. Hearn worked at Polo Grill and Bar and Pattigeorge’s on Longboat Key, which the Klaubers sold last year after 20 years.
“He understands my culinary philosophy, and his experience is also very exciting,” says Tommy Klauber. “We can really talk food; and he knows what the customers like, and we can build a team around him. He’s just getting started, but he’s already doing some really wonderful things with the food.”
Looking to start off on a career of his own, Hearn realized Polo Grill and Bar offered a wealth of opportunity – not only for his own personal development as a chef but for the community as a whole.
“When I came back, it started to occur to me the potential this restaurant has,” says Hearn. “The more I thought about it, the more I got excited. I felt like this was going to be my home.”
Since returning to Polo Grill and Bar three months ago, Hearn has been working with Tommy Klauber to bring a rustic modern approach to Polo Grill and Bar through its food and decor. Hearn also has been diligent in working with local growers to maintain the seasonal menus the restaurant has become known for over the years.
“Our menus are 100 percent written to be seasonal,” says Hearn. “We let Mother Nature write our menus for us.”
The Klaubers have given Hearn time to settle into his new role and build his own team around him. Together, Tommy Klauber and Hearn plan to continue tweaking their ideas over the summer in preparation for the restaurant’s 10-year anniversary on Nov. 1.
“It’s really fun to have him and exciting too,” says Tommy Klauber. “His vision extends out from the kitchen, and it’s pretty cool to see what’s going on back there.”