( Questions & Answers About Our Closing )

I have a ZZest gift card, now what? All ZZest gift cards that were purchased (i.e., paid for), will be honored at the other locations if you are unable to come in before closing. We will be happy to see you at Porch, Cellar, ZZest Lunch Counter or ZZest Market, or anything else we dream up! Our reservations are open until Sept.16. Please call 507-424-0080 should you like to experience one of your favorite dishes one last time..

I have a $25/$10 card, it’s the size of a business card can I use that? These cards were a generous promo and have been phased out over the last 6 months. At this point most would be beyond a reasonable expiration date, and the goal to promote the cafe, is obviously no longer necessary . We appreciate you understanding that we have closed the books on these.

I have a gift certificate that I purchased at a raffle/fundraising dinner, how about that? Honestly, these would be quite outdated. For the past 4 years (at least), we have donated gift baskets from the market. If something slipped through the cracks and it was issued recently, we would be happy to replace the card for a basket.

What about my customer loyalty card from Lunch Counter? Again, these have been purposely phased out over the last 6 months. For the few that remain out there, we will accept one, one time only. Again the goal was to promote the cafe.  If you have been stock piling, we apologize, but we need to close the books on these as well.

Are you doing brunch before you close? No sorry, April’s brunch really was the last brunch. Keep an eye on Porch they are working on staffing for brunch soon!

Are you moving ZZest somewhere else? There is no plan at this time to move ZZest. However, I can tell you ZZest fans will feel very comfortable in Cellar. There will not be chef tastings but rather, interesting small plates and great cocktails.

Once ZZest is closed, what about skordalia? Skordalia is available at the Lunch Counter or can be ordered as a platter and picked up downtown. Same deal with bread!

Can I still order catering platters from ZZest Cafe this summer? Effective immediately: All our fabulous platters are now being made at ZZest Lunch Counter. You can conveniently order online and pick up downtown, but not at the cafe. The Lunch Counter and Market is open Mon – Fri 11-5pm (6pm winter). See the menu here.

This is the last summer at ZZest, so, can we make a reservation on the patio then?? Nope, we are still seating the patio first come, first serve. We can control elements inside but not out. It may be hard to believe but, not everybody loves to dine al fresco. However, go ahead and make an inside reservation and if there’s something available when you get here, you can move out. NOTE- because so many people want to experience a final dinner on the patio, tables are reserved for dinner guests only. Drinks and drinks with appetizers, are welcome to enjoy the lounge area or the couches.

Can we still make reservations on Open Table? We only allot a few tables on the Open Table Reservation system, those could fill quickly. Feel free to call for a reservation any time. Just leave a message on the machine and someone will call back to confirm. Promise.

What about your fabulous staff? One of the most important things for us was to make sure our staff was taken care of. We are very happy to report each person that wants to stay with us has a position at our other restaurants.

What about that patio and just the cool vibe of the inside of ZZest, what happens to the space? Well, of course we are full of ideas. It’s the next generation though, who’s stepping up with a with a whole new game plan and of course we will help out. Expect to see something new this Fall, in the ZZest location. #staytuned #hotnewssoon

Dearest Friends…

Anyone who has owned a restaurant understands the emotional ups and downs that come with this unique business. I have to say during the last seven years of ZZest, the ups far out weighed the downs.


There are really only two reasons for that:

First, all of you

our completely fabulous guests that come and continue to love what we do. The kind praise, understanding, and support mean more than we could ever tell you. We are humbled to have experienced this and we joke that you all feed our restaurant addiction.

Second, is our staff

Our staff havebecome our family, and some actually are! We have had the honor to work with the most ambitious, creative, professional, and passionate people here at ZZest. They are the reason we come to work each day.

In the beginning, ZZest was a specialty food shop with a small cafe.

My goal was to find the ingredients I longed for in Bon Appetit; ingredients for the home cook, and also quality items that stood alone. I did that. I was honored to have been awarded with a SOFI award in 2011 for one of five Best Specialty Retailers in the nation. I will always cherish that.

Cheese was the beginning for me and the reason I chose to study and become a Certified Cheese Professional. For the cafe, I wanted to highlight it all in a casual, approachable manner. We put together an extensive cheese and charcuterie selection that ZZest became known for. Though I would have preferred to have phase one of ZZest Market and Cafe to last longer, it was an accomplishment I will continue to be proud of.

The market now, though small and revamped, still allows me the thrill of finding those unique ingredients, with the added challenge of making it work in the downtown location.

In a way, the original ZZest Cafe is downtown, in the form of ZZest Lunch Counter. I guess you can say my goal has been reached, and I will continue to lovingly evolve both the Lunch Counter and the Market.

Phase two of ZZest Cafe and Bar proved what Jerry and I both hoped for. Chef inspired dishes just like we experienced in any big city, but right in our own backyard. During the past two years our chef tastings have surpassed the rest of the menu items, been acknowledged and compared to big names in the Twin Cites, and our patio has been recognized nation wide. We could not be more proud of our amazing kitchen staff headed up by Chef Justin Schoville. Thanks to them, our goal was not only accomplished but exceeded our expectations.

So, by now you may have guessed what is coming. In the end,we feel like we have achieved all we wanted to do in this style of restaurant.The time has come to close the doors of this chapter.

ZZest Cafe in the 16th St SW location will close after service, Saturday Sept. 16th.

We have truly been honored to have been a part of the new, ambitious and fast growing restaurant scene in Rochester. It is certainly different than when we started in 1978. All in all, it’s been a fun ride, so we thank you!


LeeAnn and Jerry Zubay