In 1976, Mike Zakany and his brother decided to open a restaurant in downtown Zanesville, Ohio. A welcome addition to the small urban center, their contemporary casual restaurant was successful from the beginning. It was clear that the emerging ethnic food market was a logical niche for the Zakany brothers as their own Mexican heritage had a huge influence in the family kitchen. Estelle Zakany, the family matriarch, helped her sons integrate more authentic Mexican cuisine into the menu and life of the restaurant.
The Zakany family has always had a rich history of entrepreneurship. Mike’s paternal grandparents opened a butcher shop and grocery store in Zanesville in 1942. Mike’s father, uncle and entire family worked together to continue to grow the family business over the years. Zak’s Restaurant was a natural extension of the Zakanys’ passion for the food business and quickly developed a strong clientele, confirming their prominent place in “New Mexico” cuisine.
Along the way, the Zakany brothers realized the salsa Zak’s Restaurant served was a key part of the complete menu; salsa enhanced the flavors of all the dishes served. Mike started an extensive marketing study that examined all kinds of spices and chili peppers. He read intensively about the migration patterns of the European Spaniards to Mexico and the influence America’s native people had on the newcomers’ cuisine.
Mike continued to work on new salsa recipes based on his research and experimentation, using the restaurant customers as critics for the salsa formulas born from Mike’s hard work in the kitchen. Eventually, a favorite blend of spices, chili peppers and herbs emerged from recipes reflecting the influence of the cooking culture of his maternal grandfather, José Madrid. From there, a new company was born: José Madrid Salsa, named after the family icon. Mike Zakany’s tribute to his grandfather celebrates his childhood memories of this larger-than-life man from Clovis, New Mexico, who could ride a horse and shoot a gun better than anyone else in the unsettled New Mexico Territory of the early 1900s. José Madrid Salsa made its first sales in gourmet and grocery stores during the Christmas season of 1988. The legend of José Madrid lives on and continues to grow with a line of 25 different salsas and more in development.
We spoke with Mike and asked a few questions about his history and how José Madrid Salsa got into fundraising.
What sparked your interest in fundraising, and how did it lead to building your customer base while supporting groups in fulfilling their missions?
I was drawn to fundraising as it presented a unique opportunity to simultaneously expand our customer base and contribute to the success of various organizations. It’s a fulfilling journey where our growth aligns with the accomplishment of shared goals. You won’t regret giving us a try.
What distinguishes José Madrid Salsa and its services from others in the market?
At José Madrid Salsa, our distinction lies in the meticulous crafting of gourmet salsa, rooted in our original family recipes. We prioritize the use of high-quality ingredients, resulting in a superior product that sets us apart from the rest.
When a group opts for Jose Madrid Salsa for their fundraiser, what can they anticipate?
Choosing us ensures a swift turnaround for your fundraiser. Upon receipt of payment, expect a 10-14 day fulfillment period, with a generous 50 percent profit margin. Our commitment to being effortlessly accessible makes the entire process smooth and enjoyable for everyone involved.
If a reader were face-to-face with you, what question would you suggest they ask that they might not have considered?
An interesting question would be, “What is your favorite salsa?” The answer varies based on personal preferences, and it’s worth exploring the versatility of our salsa beyond just dipping. Visit our website at www.josemadridsalsa.com for exciting recipes that showcase the diverse ways our salsa can enhance your culinary experience.