On Our Radar: Tom & Sawyer
Have you ever wondered what you’re really feeding your furry friend every meal time? For Kristin Matthews and Peter Zakarow, this concern was the driving force behind opening Tom & Sawyer. Since opening the fresh pet food company a few months ago at 1247 Queen Street East, locals can’t seem to keep their paws off this place. After having difficulties getting their Yorkie-poo, Sawyer, to eat store-bought food from across the board, they looked outside the box on pet nutrition and the industry itself.
“It’s an unregulated market,” says Zakarow on the standards for pet food. “People see ‘natural’ and an image of a chicken breast on the label then see ‘boneless chicken’ on the ingredients and it forces them to connect the dots. But what it actually means is mechanically separated tendons and scrap meat that is then ground down.”
Over the past few years, much attention has been paid to our own food, and now Tom & Sawyer wants to focus on the food of our most beloved companions. The company aims for transparency and wants to help your furry ones live their best life through nutrition.
Not fans of the raw pet food phenomenon, all of the meals at Tom & Sawyer are made while whole ingredients, lightly cooked, and recommended to be served warmed up for optimal taste and satisfaction. From Italian Beef Pasta or a Farmers’ Market dish for the dogs to curated tuna and chicken meals for the felines, the menu is enough to make human tummies rumble.
“We love that our head chef and sous chef having the culinary flexibility to try new things. At the moment we have a gingerbread cookie in the works that we’ve been trying out on some of the dogs that come by and each other,” says Matthews. And yes, your read that correctly: all the food that they sell is human-tested as well as pet-tested.
To set the record straight, Tom & Sawyer is not a cat cafe or a dog cafe or a raw pet food service. “We are the first ones doing what we’re doing. We’re not gourmet dog food or a pet cafe, we are making quality, human-grade food for animals,” says Zakarow. “The food is nutritionally balanced, so it’s not some cute treat that you give them on a Saturday night. This is a full-time meal of fresh ingredients,” adds Matthews. To achieve this they have an in-house team composed of pet nutritionists, food scientists, veterinarian resources, chefs and laboratory testing partners that bring safety and transparency to everything that they do.
Staying on brand, their physical shop is also a revolutionary one. The garage-turned retail space features a remarkable open-concept layout that includes their entire kitchen and lab area as well as the retail space. On the retail side, in addition to their meals, they also offer exclusively local accessory and appeal lines for both cats and dogs, as well as made fresh daily dog treats such as Doggie Muffins. Feeling a little left out of all the great offerings? Grab a tea or coffee at the front counter and you’re set for the day.