When Rob Ward and his business partners saw that Za's Brick Oven Pizza on Devine Street was for sale earlier this year, they knew they had to purchase it.
"My business partners and I — like most who live in this area — frequented Za's over the years and all have a lot of fond memories from our times in the restaurant," said Ward, who is also co-owner of Cantina 76 taqueria and bar. "Since it was also across the street from our Cantina 76 restaurant and we're big supporters of the Devine Street area and its surrounding neighborhoods, when the business went up for sale, we decided to purchase it."
Za's originally opened at 2930 Devine St. in 1999. When Ward and his partners purchased the restaurant, they shut it down and completely renovated the restaurant's interior, along with its menu.
"We did an extensive renovation of the interior — wood floors, reclaimed wood walls, subway tile kitchen, new wood and marble bars, new fixtures, new tables and chairs," Ward said. "However, we did not change the layout of the restaurant because we wanted those longtime patrons of Za's to feel like they were coming home to the restaurant they always loved, albeit one that had a fresh, new interior."
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This week, Ward and his partners held Za's official grand re-opening, and Chef David Grillo, executive chef at Cantina 76, rolled out that new menu, paring it down a bit to focus more on Italian dishes such as calzones, bruschetta, brick-oven pizzas and pastas — all of which use locally sourced ingredients, according to Ward. Za's is also introducing three new salads with the new menu — roasted pear and chicken, chicken BLT and a salmon orzo pasta salad.
Za's is open 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday.