Team behind ZZest introducing new restaurant concept downtown
The downtown dining scene is about to get another big boost.
The Zubay Family (owners of ZZest) revealed plans this week to take over the space inside the former Chicago Great Western Railroad Company Depot. The century-old building, located at 20 Fourth Street SE in downtown Rochester, was most recently home to the Mexican eatery El Loro.
Though operating under the same management, the building will be divided into two completely different spaces. On the main floor, "Porch" will serve up urban farm fare in a casual environment. The menu will focus on fine smoked meats and signature fried chicken with honey butter and lemon — as well as an array of sides, from the hearty to the healthy.
Meals will be available in individual or group sizes, allowing customers to pass around plates of food just like they're sitting at the family dining table.
“When I grew up eating on the farm, we would gather around with a plate of food," said Justin Schoville, executive chef at ZZest and one of the co-owners of the new restaurant. Porch will be similar to his childhood dining table in the sense it will be "very family style, vegetable forward" and each person "will have the chance to try different sides.”
Below Porch will be "Cellar," a swanky lounge with small plates, craft cocktails and desserts. The room will have the feel of an old gentleman's club — a place to meet, relax and try new creations from the bar and kitchen.
Like ZZest, both Porch and Cellar will have an emphasis on hand-crafted and local. Schoville noted the building's proximity will make it convenient for cooks to stroll down to the farmers market and pick up fresh ingredients.
The two restaurant concepts will be owned and operated by Schoville, Jason Zubay and Lindsay Zubay. The latter two individuals are the children (and employees) of ZZest owners Jerry and LeeAnn Zubay.
Porch is slated to open by the end of the year; Cellar should be open sometime mid-winter; and the outdoor patio — with views of the bike path and Zumbro River — will be ready to go by next summer.
Follow Sean on Twitter.
(Cover photo: File / CC)