posted on August 19, 2013 08:00
You may have dined at one of chef and restaurateur Zack Bruell's five Cleveland-area restaurants – Parallax, Table 45, Chinato, L'Albatros and Cowell & Hubbard – but did you know that you can get his custom blend of coffees and olive oil exclusively at Heinen's?
Zack's Brews coffees are blended to reflect the unique style of each of his restaurants, and also include his signature "Hot Lips" flavor, for which Bruell came up with a custom blend. "I wanted to do something that was different, an Italian combination of ingredients, inspired by Chinato," he said of Hot Lips. "I came up with pepperoncini, chocolate and maraschino cherries, and the Hot Lips blend was born." The other five blends are named for each of his restaurants.
"Coffee is the last part of the meal in restaurants and the last thing you remember," Bruell says. "Many restaurants don't pay attention to that detail. We're known for our coffee and the product we're selling is the same as we're serving in the restaurants."
Zack's Brews are custom-roasted and packaged by Caruso's Coffee in Brecksville, OH, ensuring that the money stays in Cleveland. "That's important to me," Bruell says. "We have great things going on in Cleveland, so why not support our own local companies?"
When the coffee reached Heinen's store shelves in November, Bruell was already thinking about the next product. Zack Bruell Olive Oil, 100% Extra Virgin joined Zack's Brews on Heinen's shelves in May.
"All of my restaurants have a different concept," says Bruell. "But the one thing they have in common is bread and olive oil at the start of the meal." This sets the tone for the entire meal and is why Bruell thought it would be the perfect second product to make available at Heinen's.
The olive oil is the same used in all of Bruell's restaurants and is made from arbequina, arbosana and koroneiki olives, which are all grown in California's Central Valley, picked directly from the tree and milled within hours of harvesting, for optimal flavor and freshness. The olive oil was created in partnership with Corto Olive, a family-owned agribusiness located in the heart of California's agriculturally rich Central Valley.
Bruell says the response from his customers has been very positive. "People come into the restaurants and want to know if they can buy the olive oil or the coffee," he says, "Now we can tell them ‘yes.' The staff is also educated to direct customers to Heinen's for these products, especially if they hear guests talking about how much they like them."
As for what the future holds? Bruell said he's hoping to have more products under his name in the future, including salad dressing that he would develop. He's also considering prepared foods options in the future.