Food Review: Trattoria at Home
by Julia Sayers Gokhale, food columnist
Trattoria ZaZa has always fed the downtown crowd—professionals grabbing a coffee and scone before work, clients on a lingering lunch meeting, or families having a leisurely weekend brunch. But when the COVID-19 pandemic began, and crowds disappeared from downtown as more people began to work remotely, ZaZa knew they needed to pivot their model to adapt to the changing landscape.
“Back in early March, we started discussing how the potential of the virus spreading would affect our business,” says ZaZa owner Bryan Stanfield. “We anticipated a potential quarantine looking at how the Pacific Northwest was handling the spread. After discussing it with the staff and seeing how other small restaurants in affected areas were able to adapt, we decided we needed to get ahead of it.”
ZaZa quickly transitioned their social media accounts and website to “ZaZa a casa,” a to-go and delivery “pop-up” that would take the spot of Trattoria ZaZa until it could resume normal operations.
“It was a way to embrace the coming changes with some fun and energy,” Stanfield says. “The goal was to safely provide jobs to my entire staff who still wanted to work—shifting my servers to delivery drivers—and to encourage people to stay home by providing quick, exciting, affordable meals for families and individuals at their home table.”
Part of the rebrand included the addition of family meals, which are pans of ZaZa’s house pastas or salads that feed four to six people. Options for those include their popular Baked Mac and Cheese, Penne All’Arrabbiata, and Caesar Salad.
“Knowing people were home with their families and stressed about everything going on in the world, we hoped to take the stress of what to put on the table for everyone every night out of the conversation,” Stanfield says.
In addition to the family meals, you can still order all the dishes ZaZa is known for, including their Roman-style pizzas. Slice options change daily; two slices and a salad is $9. Daily entree and pasta specials vary by season and can include items such as seasonal pastas, panzanella, and a Saturday “date-night” meal. For breakfast and brunch, you’ll find chocolate-orange scones, breakfast pasta (with bacon and a fried egg), and honey-mascarpone-stuffed French toast.
When things began reopening this summer, ZaZa opted to stay ZaZa a casa. Stanfield says the problems that were around when they initially made the switch are still very prevalent. Thankfully for ZaZa, customers have easily adapted to and embraced the new model.
“When we first announced, the support was overwhelming. With stopping all dine-in service we only saw a small dip in sales at first,” Stanfield says. “Generally everyone was extremely thankful for the service. There were definitely some hiccups when figuring out new methods of interacting with guests but everyone was very patient. We are very fortunate that our cuisine and model was already so friendly for to-go. The transition was easier for us than most. I’m very grateful to our community in supporting us and this new model.”