If you want to build an Empire, Jon Hamesiter-Ries knows that you have to start with a City.
As a long time resident of Vancouver’s West End, Jon has recently launched his flagship Sandwich shop Meat City; a promising start to what should be his culinary empire.
Life is the ultimate roller coaster and Jon has spent the last few years eagerly hanging on for the ride. His career and personal life were at an all time low just over a year ago when he boldly auditioned for Master Chef and earned himself the opportunity to compete by winning a white apron. The competition was an experience that he describes with a smile and he eagerly remembers it as the thing that “brought him back to life.” It’s impossible not to grin along with Jon as he describes the opportunity that changed everything .
Jon Hameister-Ries grew up in Edmonton but belongs in Vancouver; he played six long seasons in the CFL as a BC Lion enjoying only one without injury from start to finish while the others had countless interruptions. It wasn’t until he found himself knee deep in his most promising season that Hameister-Ries suffered his career ending injury and the emotional, financial and physical toll of the incident became Jon’s darkest hour.
Although Hameister-Ries had never spent a day in culinary school, he was quickly considered serious competition on the popular cooking show when he earned the country’s admiration as the “Meat Guy”; grilling to perfection dishes that impressed the judges and mastering new culinary skills that even impressed himself. Although Hameister-Ries didn’t take home the Masterchef trophy at the end of the competition, his time spent in the Masterchef kitchen gave him both the confidence and the culinary skills to follow his heart and to launch Meat City.
Jon looks back fondly on the months that he spent designing Meat City and getting the space ready, the hours that he and his friends spent painting the surfaces red and building a wall. The result isn’t quite his dream store but for now, he feels adamantly that their food is the focus and when you speak to him about the menu you can easily see how much pride has been put into it. One of Jon’s biggest concerns is that he can’t be in the kitchen at every moment to cut the chives the size that he’d like or to slice the meat exactly how he’d serve it, but with a full time career in finance it’s no surprise that he has learnt to put his trust in a team of passionate people who are just as proud of Meat City as he is.
His concerns are just a testament to the kind of chef that Jon is; the entire menu at Meat City has been designed around what he and his friends sincerely enjoy eating and every single authentic ingredient has been included after heavy consideration.
Meat City is a place built on pure passion and it’s evident when you consider that all three owners have other careers with Jon’s partners Andrew Jones and Andrew Harris both currently playing out their seasons in the CFL. For now, Meat City may not be their only bread and butter, but Hameister-Ries has big dreams of even bigger expansions across the West Coast and Canada with intentions of bringing his refined rotisserie sandwiches back home to Alberta.
Jon has even more plans and passions for Meat City’s future. These include a plan to purchase and operate a food truck, the chance to acquire a liquor licence for the store and the introduction of daily sandwich specials to make dining at Meat City an even more enjoyable feast.
Location: 1074 Davie Street
Open: Sunday – Thursday, 11am – 10pm
Friday, Saturday, 11am – Midnight
Eat: Meat City’s Mac and Cheese: macaroni noodles mixed with cheddar, cream cheese, asiago, heavy cream, butter, garlic, chives, green onion and sun dried tomato
Prime Rib Certified Angus Beef sandwich with thinly sliced rotisserie beef served, just above room temperature with crispy fried onions, spicy arugula and a house made horseradish mustard sauce for the ideal kick. The sandwich is served with home made potato chips and dip.
Take Out: available during all open hours; take out is a great option for walking down to English Bay and enjoying your dinner with a friend and the ocean