ZZest Cafe & Bar :: An Evolution

It all started with the desire to open a specialty food market, with an emphasis on cheese and the hard-to-find, small produced ingredients. Why not add a little café? ZZest Market and Café took over the space on 16th St SW in 2009. The market business didn’t boom but held its own, the tiny café kept growing, (thanks to in the beginning, just two Chefs, Eric and John who did it all).

With the utmost desire to be casual, we resisted adding wait staff, real wine glasses and taking reservations. Our customers pressed us. So, we added the usual restaurant pieces plus a patio, with wood fired pizza. We grew into our reputation of being called “The wildly popular ZZest, you can’t even get into place.” (Although that is not always true.) We appeased the anxious, took reservations, and decided to divide our spaces. We moved ZZest Market back downtown, expanded the café and added a bar.

The transformation was a blast! Keeping up with our mantra of local talent we used “the small guy” for our general contractor, Mike Hayden. He not only rocked every special request, he created pieces that would become signature new ZZest. Ten original pieces of Broadstreet Café (a bygone Rochester favorite) were reused. When they are all in place there will be a contest, so Rochester restaurant trivia players, this may be right up your alley! We used more local talent, designer and small business owner, Brianna Truax from Modern Designs and Concepts. She took into account our small budget (no investor or big $ money coming our way), and our many ideas and turned them into the exact youthful, funky feel, we wanted.

ZZest Market and Cafe became “ZZest Café and Bar” at the end of 2014. ZZest Market moved downtown next to it’s little sister ZZest Lunch Counter, her nick name, “aamuse.”

We are looking forward to seeing you in 2015 and beyond!