The new village

Opening just last summer in Waterloo’s Uptown, Ish & Chips has proven that its owners and menu can’t shake its village roots.

“It’s homemade, it’s good, it’s something that you’re not going to get elsewhere,” said Kamil Mytnik, who manages the media and marketing and is also the son of the restaurant’s owners John and Barbara Mytnik.

The restaurant began its legacy as MacDonell Village, on MacDonell Street in Guelph in the mid 1990s. With the growing success of the business the Mytniks decided to open a second location in Waterloo and a third location in Gravenhurst. However managing all three locations became too much for the family and they reduced their business to the Waterloo location across from Laurier’s campus.

“We had a pretty good client base closer to the end last year; we closed in May 2009,” said Mytnik, citing the student population for being their predominant source of business. “A lot of students were really sad to see us go.”

With their lease running up at the King and University plaza and talks of a potential condominium replacing the site entirely, Mytnik said his parents decided that closing up and moving on was the best route to take.

“We also wanted a change. We didn’t like our name and we didn’t think the decor was up to par,” he explained.

The new location at 37 King St. N. provided them with a clean slate. Mytnik explained that the interior of the store was designed entirely by his mother Barbara, taking advantage of the creative opportunity.

Mytnik went on explaining the sleek design, stating, “What’s even more interesting is that while she did the design of it my dad did the production of it, he handmade everything.” Looking at the large wooden counters and tables and faux brick walls, the dedication and work put in to the project can truly be appreciated.

“I think people really appreciate when smaller businesses go the extra mile to make a presence, not just through aesthetics but the quality of the product as well,” expressed Mytnik.

Competing with the impressive aesthetics of the store is the familiar menu featuring a variety of fresh items. True to the restaurant’s name, fish and chips, whether it’s cod or haddock, is consistently the most popular on the menu.

The Village Burger, according to Mytnik, comes to a close second however. “We get the meat straight from the butcher shop in St. Jacob’s market and then we make it ourselves,” he added, justifying its popularity.

Looking ahead, Mytnik said that along with establishing its presence in the Uptown community, Ish & Chips also hopes to regain the student clientele.

“Hey, we’re back,” he said.