Chef returns to Lakewood Ranch eatery after two years at Chicago's Alinea

On the heels of a two-year stint at celebrated Chicago restaurant Alinea, Lakewood Ranch resident Jaryd Hearn has returned to the kitchen of Polo Grill and Bar with a new title: executive chef.

Hearn — who rejoined the Polo team three months ago and also previously worked for proprietors Tommy and Jaymie Klauber's other restaurant, Pattigeorge's on Longboat Key (which the husband-and-wife team sold last year) — moved his way up to chef de partie during his time at the three-Michelin-starred Alinea. But he first came to work for the Klaubers in 2012 as a trainee while studying at Keiser University. The chef later scored an apprenticeship, which allowed him to spend the following three years learning from Tommy.

"He understands my culinary philosophy, and his experience is also very exciting," Tommy said in a statement. "We can really talk food; and he knows what the customers like, and we can build a team around him."

According to the co-owner, who's been collaborating with Hearn to bring a rustic, modern approach to the American restaurant with global soul's cuisine (and decor), the executive chef is "doing some wonderful things with the food." Pollo has become known for its seasonal menus throughout the years, and Hearn working with local growers ensures that element of the restaurant isn't going anywhere.

Over the summer, the plan is to tweak their ideas ahead of Polo's 10-year anniversary celebration on November 1.

"When I came back, it started to occur to me the potential this restaurant has," Hearn said. "The more I thought about it, the more I got excited."