Hi. Konkret is a family business, isn’t it? Who is the boss then?
We are trying to split chores and avoid the word “boss”. Each one of us has different tasks assigned. We try to complement each other. And so far, we have been successful.
Where did the name “Konkret” come from?
One time while drinking beer with my friends, I told them about my restaurant idea. I spoke of how great it would be, if I opened sort of a pizza pub. I described the way it would look, function, and what the drinks and dishes would be. One of my friends made a short comment – “Konkret” – and so I adopted it.
Are you from Jeżyce district?
Yes. I was born in the hospital on Mickiewicza street. I was baptized in the church on Szamarzewskiego. We have lived in Asnyk square. Even though I don’t live in Jeżyce anymore, I feel some kind of bond with it. My dad was born in Nowy Tomyśl but he has been living in Jeżyce for a long time now. He is a true Jeżycjanin [a resident of Jeżyce].
It used to be a small place, now it is far more spacious. How did it happen?
It is a very old building. As far as I can remember, there have always been businesses here: shops, a bank, taverns. I know at some point there was a bakery and a butcher here. It is an interesting coincidence actually. First, somebody moved out from one of the flats, then we had an opportunity to take over a place on the corner of Polna Street. We thought it would be a great spot for a wine, beer and pizza place.
Have you thought about running a restaurant before? Or you just took the opportunity that came up?
Exactly. I have always dreamt of running my own pub. Additionally, I could always – and it still applies – count on my father’s help and knowledge. It would have been sinful, if we hadn’t tried to come up with something together. Konkret combines my love for beer and my father’s knowledge of pizza making. I would love to be able to sell our own beer in here. I hope in a year or two we will be able to do it.
Was it difficult to turn a flat in to a restaurant in terms of administrative proceedings?
It was very difficult. It has been truly long and exhausting. Unfortunately, Polish bureaucracy can really undercut one’s enthusiasm. My cousin, Natalia Okraska and Edwin Jankowiak, [are] the architects [and] have helped us a lot. Without their help, it would not have been possible. Apart from the assistance with paperwork, they gave us hints on the place’s appearance.
There is a story behind the furniture in Konkret. Somebody has told me most of them belonged to your grandparents. Is that correct?
Yes, it is. The big armchairs belonged to my great-grandma. The small ones belonged to my grandma, as well as some of the chairs. It was enough to reupholster them to make them shine again. I like making use of furniture somebody has gotten rid of, it gives me great joy. I refurbish them and place them here. I think they have “souls” and a unique style. It is really difficult, finding something of this kind. Apart from this, they fit in perfectly. They give the place this retro atmosphere.
I do like the style of the interior. I have heard you did most of the work yourself…
We did it, to be exact. Yes, we did it on our own. Because of a limited budget, we could not hire a professional crew. Ventilation, heating, binding joists – these were the things we could not handle on our own, we had to hire professionals. The rest is the result of our collective work: the electric system, insulating the ceiling, partition walls, plumbing, sewage system. Then chiselling, cleaning, and plastering the uneven walls, painting, working on the stairs, the bar and the tables. It was an enormous amount of work and there was a great number of people involved in the process. I would like to thank them all, especially my friends – Adrian, Piotr and Błażej.
How would you describe Konkret?
It is a restaurant on the corner of Szamarzewskiego and Polna. It is located in the best district of Poznań – Jeżyce. You can taste here some excellent beer from small breweries. We have both tap and bottled beer. Recently, we have added wine to the list. We serve pizza, homemade sandwiches and salads. You can choose between meat, vegetarian and vegan dishes – everybody will find something suitable for themselves. The idea is simple. You visit us with your friends, spend some time drinking beer of wine, and eating pizza. It is so-called “pizzing”. The name was suggested by some of our regular customers.
You seem to be pretty young. Have you always planned to become a part of a family business or there have been some alternative plans?
After I graduated, I worked in an office but it was not something I found suitable for myself. At some point an opportunity came up to do something together with my father, so I wanted to take it. I set up a business, I took a loan. After half a year Konkret became a real thing
Has it met your expectations?
Yes, definitely. Gastronomy is a difficult branch but I like it. Apart from this, I enjoy working for myself.
Tell us the story of the stairs connecting both sides of the restaurant.
It is probably the most difficult issue we had to deal with. Back on that day, I had all the parts and all the necessary equipment with me. It was 2nd January 2017. Right after the New Year’s Eve. Surely I had not recovered after the party at that point. I stood with a drill in my hand I looked around and I thought it was impossible to do the job on my own. It was the first time in my lifetime when I felt totally overwhelmed with a task. I called Błażej who arrived on the very day and thanks to whom the stairs were completed in two days.
There are many different things on the menu but seems like pizza is the most important dish.
You are right. My dad has been tossing pizza for 15 years. He still tries to improve his skills. It was his knowledge that we wanted to make use of.
Whose pizza is better – your or your dad’s?
My dad’s. Definitely.
Do you tend to eat pizza every day? If you were to choose one of them, the favourite one, which would it be?
Yes. I think I am a pizza-addict. My favourite one is “four-cheese” pizza with olive oil instead of tomato sauce.
It was nice meeting you. I have one more question. I saw your profile on FB and I noticed you cooperate with KONDRAT WINA WYBRANE. Could you tell us a little more about it?
It is an interesting coincidence. At the point when we had been looking for a wine provider it was Mr. Wojtek who came to us. He runs Kondrat Wina Wybrane shop. It is a respected brand with a very interesting selection of vines. Mr. Wojtek is our neighbour from Polna Street. He became our mentor. He helps us to choose our wines. I think together we managed to create an interesting offer. We have 3 house wines: red, white, and pink, as well as an interesting selection of bottled wines which includes products from France, Italy, Portugal, RSA. If you are looking for a place where you can drink wine and enjoy a relaxed atmosphere, we invite you to Konkret.