In the words of famous Chef Emeril Lagasse, I wanted to “kick it up a notch” on a recent evening out with the family. The foodie in me was anxious to escape the ordinary. I have always enjoyed Zinful and after learning it had been closed briefly for remodeling, I was eager to stop back in and see what is new.
“Something for every palate”
After our enjoyable visit to Zinful, I spoke with the owner, Joyce Franzblau. She opened Zinful in April 2011 and recently had a brief shutdown, using the time to remodel the entrance, improve lighting, change artwork, repaint, etc. The menu selections were also reconfigured. “The menu was redesigned to better complement the beer and wine,” said Ms. Franzblau, really wanting to focus on what the guests are looking for. As the seasons change, so will the menu. “We do every single thing from scratch except the Koenig pretzel,” said Franzblau.
Taking the ‘from scratch kitchen’ a step further, their pastry chef makes all their rolls, buns, flatbread dough, etc. Zinful boasts over 200 wines, 18 craft beers on tap, and many more in bottles. They also feature a large walk in humidor and live jazz on select evenings. (We enjoyed the talented Candice Coleman, a past American Idol contestant.) Franzblau said their concept is “something for every palate” and the goal is to offer every guest a fabulous sensory experience. If you’re looking for chicken wings, a bison burger, or a unique flat bread to accompany your choice craft beer, you’re all set. And, if you are all about choosing a perfect bottle of wine to pair with something a little more, shall we say, sophisticated, well, they have you covered there as well.
Many people don’t realize that though Zinful has much to offer for a wonderful adult evening out, they are very kid friendly and your children are more than welcome. As a matter of fact, they have a kids’ menu with four winning choices such as pizza, chicken chunks, grilled cheese, and mac n cheese. All kid’s meals come with fries or salad and a drink for only $5. I must mention, if you have a child with an allergy, they are one of the few places I have found that fries their potatoes in peanut oil. They are delicious, but if you have an allergy, beware.
Shrimp and angel hair pasta and hummus encrusted chicken
Escape the ordinary
I called ahead and made reservations. With a party of five, it can be helpful if restaurants know ahead of time to combine tables, etc. I must say, it was the first time I had ever been taken to my reserved table to find a painted bottle of wine with my name on it. My kids were laughing at me, but I sincerely loved the personal touch. Wow, they really WERE waiting for us to arrive! I always say, it’s the little things that make a big difference. When guests enter Zinful, there are shelves upon shelves of wine bottles. Feel free to browse the selection and take one to your table to have with your dinner. Or if you prefer, they also have over 70 you can order by the glass.
I was ecstatic to see they had cucumber gazpacho on the menu. Oh how I had been craving that! I enjoyed the hummus encrusted chicken for $18. It was served atop lemon rice and haricot verts with a smoked paprika drizzle. My daughter and husband opted for the angel hair pasta served with shrimp and a light yogurt alfredo for $16. There were many interesting appetizer options such as sesame scotch cumin egg, peach tilapia ceviche, and smoked salmon and avocado mousse served on toast points just to name a few.
My boys enjoyed a grilled cheese sandwich, and a flatbread pizza. I sampled the flatbread, and wow was the dough delicious. No doubt it is made fresh daily. We saved room to share a dessert. The special was Panna Cotta which is basically an Italian pudding and they served it with homemade biscotti. My oldest son left little for the rest of us. It was a sweet ending to an enjoyable evening.
Bottom Line: Don’t be afraid to “kick it up a notch” with children in tow at Zinful. Patrons can opt to enjoy the formal dining room, or head back to the more casual sports bar portion of the restaurant. You will love the seasonal menu as well as the incredible wine and beer selection.
Karen Zickes is a mom of three active children and freelance writer who resides in Holland, OH. She can be reached in c/o firstname.lastname@example.org