"It made sense to create a food concept around Garfield."
June 18, 2019 9:13 PM   Subscribe

A Garfield-licensed restaurant has opened in Toronto. My first question was direct, “Why Garfield?”

“First of all, my partner and I... were in love with Garfield at a young age, the brand lives with us,” Mazri said. “There was relevance. I mean the cat was hungry; he loved eating. It made sense to create a food concept around Garfield. You can call it destiny.”

Writer Sarah Hagi, known for her love of Garfield the comic strip cat, investigates and reviews a new Toronto restaurant for Food & Wine. The restaurant boasts official Garfield licensing, specially developed sauces, and oddly recyclable food containers.
posted by knile (42 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Some days I feel like I’m living in a comedic, grim-dark meathook future.

Today is one of those days.
posted by drfu at 9:23 PM on June 18 [5 favorites]


jig jigga-jig

jig jigga-jig


jig jigga-jig


jig jigga-jigga-jig jig bwooweeooooooooooo

I WANNA MUNCH!
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:25 PM on June 18 [31 favorites]


The packaging, all orange with Garfield comics printed, was meant to be fully recyclable and reusable. This is what that meant: the same box used for the lasagna and salad, which by the end of its use is covered in dressing or cheese, happened to be the same size as a standard tissue box. So when the customer is done with their lasagna or salad, they are supposed to reuse it by storing loose tissues in the box, like a tissue box.

It's not that often that I do an actual spit take.
posted by medusa at 9:28 PM on June 18 [23 favorites]


Some days I feel like I’m living in a comedic, grim-dark meathook future.

grim-dark meathook future? Wait till you get a load of /r/imsorryjon
posted by tclark at 9:29 PM on June 18 [4 favorites]


I like to believe I’m an open minded person.

I went through a Garfield phase in middle school where I checked out and read all the collected works.

Toronto is a very nice city.

This? No. Just no.

Why????????????
posted by b1tr0t at 9:31 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]






tclark: um.... thank you?
posted by drfu at 9:36 PM on June 18


But it all begged the question — why would someone want to download an entire app for just one restaurant are they closed on Mondays?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:36 PM on June 18 [13 favorites]


This made a sort of twisted sense when it was only in Dubai. Because Dubai. The idea of it being in Toronto... I feel like I might be hallucinating this post despite having previously heard of GarfieldEats. Possibly because of it. I'm under a lot of stress right now, okay. It seems plausible.
posted by Sequence at 9:37 PM on June 18 [8 favorites]




I think this interview with the dude responsible for this speaks for itself...

Canadian entrepreneur behind GarfieldEATS wants to disrupt fast-food, one lasagna at a time:

I came up with an “entergaging” food app. And entergaging means it’s an engaging user interface; we entertain you in the app and engage you in order to increase user retention, keep you on the app and make your order.

[...]

A lot of these things cost a lot of money – farm-to-table food, green delivery vehicles, licensing Garfield. How can you manage all these overhead costs?

I don’t count it as overhead – more like research and development. R&D is very crucial to the success of your business. We live in a cluttered market. Does the world need another pizza? We’re over-inundated with commercial products. But the idea is to reinvent the wheel. I’m investing in blockchain, and it’ll be ready in October – where you open the app, you click the farm-to-plate icon, and you’ll know which farmer it’s from, his name, his address, which city, and all the nutritional info.

I don't want to be another piece of cardboard. I am sick of those franchisors that have been around 50 or 60 years thinking they're oligopolies and causing a barrier to entry for new brands to come in.

Come check it out. I haven’t even started. Look at our boxes – our pizza boxes all have perforated lines, so that our pizza boxes become pizza plates. We call it our “re-box” program. Our lasagna boxes become tissue boxes – the top part is perforated like a Kleenex box. I haven’t even started. We want to enter into robotic kitchens. We want to be able to do mass production. We want to invest in artificial intelligence.

[...]

We both finance it, but he’s my co-founding partner. We’re equal. [Reached by phone, Mr. Haider confirmed the two were the company’s main investors, but declined to say how much each has invested.] He came with me, and met with Jim Davis, and I just feel – everyone asks me if I’m excited. I’m actually nervous because I feel a huge responsibility for this cartoon. And if I screw it up, I feel like it could be jeopardy for the entire business, the entire legendary ecosystem of Garfield and the 400 licensees of Jim Davis. So I have a huge responsibility: the pizza must be delicious. And you know that our pizzas are Garfield shaped?

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:59 PM on June 18 [13 favorites]


This article doesn’t do justice to how backwards this is. GarfieldEats’ business plan is so self-parodyingly stupid that it’s either an earnest delusional flashback to 1999 Information Superhighway IPO hysteria or it’s a clear attempt by Mazri to grift Jim Davis by playing on Davis’s famous inability to turn down a cash grab. I kind of hope this is the plan because Mazri cutting and running on Davis is somehow less depressing than thinking that this doomed endeavor is somehow sincere.

To be honest, the whole thing would be more believable if it actually does turn out to be the public-facing frontend of an ancient eldritch cult that is on the verge of awakening their insatiable orange striped godmonster.
posted by Skwirl at 10:21 PM on June 18 [12 favorites]


It is essential to read that interview.
posted by k8t at 10:26 PM on June 18 [6 favorites]


a fan on the MBMBAM subreddit ordered from Garfield Eats and received a truly disgusting creation. as discussed in the insane interview linked above, the sauce is, for some reason, orange?! they claim it's just blended tomatoes but the reddit user claims the sauce smelled like nothing they've ever seen on a pizza before so IDK
posted by JimBennett at 10:31 PM on June 18 [4 favorites]


a fan on the MBMBAM subreddit ordered from Garfield Eats and received a truly disgusting creation. as discussed in the insane interview linked above, the sauce is, for some reason, orange?!

"Hi. I'd like to order a large Burtynsky."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:48 PM on June 18


Two major sports teams.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:16 PM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Hahaha I love Garfield unironically (my piano teacher loved Garfield and cats and I'd read the comic books while waiting for my lesson to begin), and I love lasagna (this word taught me that native speakers of languages are not necessarily good at explaining their languages) but this venture will probably lose too much cash to be open for long.
posted by batter_my_heart at 11:29 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Thought Slime did a fun video on the GarfieldEats website/app. I didn't realise it had a brick-and-mortar too, and not just the bizarrely specific delivery service.
posted by Gordafarin at 1:40 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


A pizza, lasagna, and salad cost $50 with a 50% discount? Wow.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:21 AM on June 19


> they claim it's just blended tomatoes but the reddit user claims the sauce smelled like nothing they've ever seen on a pizza before so IDK

Well, they don’t say what the tomatoes are blended with.
posted by ardgedee at 3:24 AM on June 19 [4 favorites]


Up yours Montreal.
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:37 AM on June 19 [5 favorites]


A pizza, lasagna, and salad cost $50 with a 50% discount? Wow.

A sentence later in the article about $25 suggests that it was $50 before the discount, though I admit to being confused by the whole thing.
posted by clawsoon at 4:03 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


This whole thing feels like performance art meant to satirize comically out-of-touch, self-proclaimed "entrepreneur" culture.

But I don't think it is.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:40 AM on June 19 [6 favorites]


This whole thing feels like performance art meant to satirize comically out-of-touch, self-proclaimed "entrepreneur" culture.

Nathan Fielder is from Toronto. Are we sure this isn't part of the secret next season of Nathan For You? This has all the insanity of a Dumb Starbucks.
posted by Gortuk at 5:24 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: where do you find loose tissues?
posted by Foosnark at 5:27 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


Let's not blame Toronto unless this restaurant becomes a success.
posted by cardboard at 5:32 AM on June 19 [8 favorites]


No.
posted by latkes at 6:32 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


Some days I feel like I’m living in a comedic, grim-dark meathook future.

I'm sorry, Jon...
posted by condour75 at 7:03 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


This is a few blocks away from my place. At first I assumed that they were like one of those daycares that decorates their spaces with badly-executed, copyright-infringing depictions of cartoon characters. It is utterly unappealing on every level. However, Toronto also has a 'poop cafe' that seems to survive on novelty value, so who knows.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 7:27 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


Ok it was one thing to have a goofy restaurant based around an old comic strip in Toronto (of all places) but that interview with the dude that mandolin conspiracy links to and quotes from? Now that is some comedy gold. If they have some gluten free options I will definitely check this place out.
posted by Ashwagandha at 7:31 AM on June 19


Toronto has "two major sports teams".

Throwing some shade at the Leafs?
posted by Kabanos at 7:33 AM on June 19 [4 favorites]


Oh hey GarfieldEats is a few blocks away from the bookstore with the vending machine, Monkey's Paw, I guess I will have to eat Garfield shaped pizza now.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:10 AM on June 19


There's gotta be a scam, right? This is like Springtime For Hitler, only food, right?

...right?
posted by dr. boludo at 8:17 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


SQUAD!
posted by lauranesson at 8:36 AM on June 19 [4 favorites]


Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, this is so great!

My favorite is goupons...

Also, the last line of the interview: "Because it’s going to change the taste of what a pizza is, really."
posted by overglow at 8:37 AM on June 19 [3 favorites]


Skwirl: I kind of hope this is the plan because Mazri cutting and running on Davis is somehow less depressing than thinking that this doomed endeavor is somehow sincere.

I also had the same kind of "scam or sincere?" question. Though there are definitely a lot scammy elements (e.g.: Dubai, blockchain, "entergagement", etc...), my personal feeling is leaning more towards "sincere". Things like this guy's idea that it's his "destiny" to do something with Garfield based on his childhood experience with Garfield, the strangely reverent way he talks about Garfield licensing, the absolutely bonkers suggestion that the cardboard takeout box was resuable, etc... all strike me as too over the top and unecessary for a simple, Springtime for Hitler-esque scam. If this is a con, it seems like the kind of con where the conman is primarily conning himself.
posted by mhum at 10:18 AM on June 19 [4 favorites]


This has got to be close to the endgame of the Instagrammable Food trend right?
posted by warriorqueen at 10:53 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


This may be peak Toronto.
posted by rodlymight at 6:31 PM on June 19


/r/Toronto seems to be on the case:

he read the Art of the Deal and thanked Trump for inspiring him, etc.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:30 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


Check out this video of him announcing the closure of the Dubai location. It's.... special.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:07 PM on June 24 [2 favorites]


Video of the owner of GarfieldEATS app angry rant about the high price of organic produce in Dubai is... a pretty good shorthand of the world we're living in now. If I saw that on a TV show I'd think it was fake.
posted by latkes at 3:35 PM on June 24 [2 favorites]


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