Friday, October 31, 2008


The wine is being loaded in and the restaurant is shaping up. The exterior looks great and all the fine details are being honed in on for the upcoming opening. The revolution continues as MODERN UPSCALE GRILLING is making it's presence in the Florida market. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008



BOCA RATON, FLA. (October 14, 2008) - ZED451, a revolutionary restaurant concept of original cuisine and delivery, service intelligence and unprecedented design, will open on the southwest corner of Boca Raton’s trendy Mizner Park lifestyle shopping center on November 10, 2008. ZED451’s launch will mark the official opening of the newly developed Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center.

Boca Raton is the first location for ZED451 outside of Chicago, where the critically acclaimed flagship restaurant is located in the heart of downtown. “Boca Raton is home to some of the nation’s most sophisticated diners, which is why we selected this market as our first foray outside of the Chicago area,” said Chief Operating Officer Bill Bartlett.

The concept behind ZED451 is considered revolutionary in that it takes the three core attributes of the restaurant experience – cuisine, service, and environment – and reinvents them simultaneously. ZED451 is intended to feel more like attending a party in someone’s home than dining in a restaurant.

Original Cuisine
Dining in the round. The cuisine at ZED451 – modern upscale grilling – includes fire grilled steaks, ribs, fish, poultry and game served tableside by the chefs who created them. At any time, guests are invited to help themselves to several Harvest Tables, featuring seasonal soups, composed salads, artisan cheese and charcuterie. The fixed price is intended to inspire experimentation and discovery. “The beauty of our menu is that there is no risk,” says Steve Byrne, Director of Culinary Operations. “You can try something new like antelope or wild boar sausage and if you like it, have more. If not, move on.”

ZED451’s prix fixe dinner menu of $55 includes unlimited offerings from the Harvest Tables, Chef Selections and Market Side dishes. Desserts, including Dirty Banana Sundae and Key Lime Pie, are available for $10. For those who wish to dine solely from the Harvest Table, the price is $33. Children age six to ten are $27.50; and ages five and under are complimentary. Brunch is served on Sundays, from 11:30 am until 2:30 pm for $33 per adult, and $22 for children age six to ten. Lunch service will begin in late November.

Service Centered on Guest Interaction
ZED451 breaks down the barriers between the front-of-house and the back, thereby fostering the relationship between the chef and the guest. Instead of servers and runners, dishes are delivered tableside by the chefs who created them. By selecting which foods to sample from the various offerings, when to sample them and how much, the guest is able to control the pace and portions of their dining experience.

In addition, the staff at ZED451 is trained to serve as a concierge by helping customers make reservations at other restaurants, lounges and bars following their meal. A ZED451 shuttle is available to pick up and return guests to their hotels or take them to their next destination.

General Manager of ZED451 in Boca Raton is Tim Fannin, and the 20-member team of chefs is led by Executive Chef Armando Galeas.

Unprecedented Design
ZED451 in Boca Raton is a 14,000 square foot space designed by renowned architect Chris Smith (ZED451, Chicago; Buddakan, Philadelphia and New York; Grayz, Restaurant 81 and Haru, New York; OLA and Strike, Miami; and Charlie Palmer Steak, Las Vegas.) ZED451 is Smith’s first Boca Raton project. RCC Associates is constructing the 338-seat restaurant.

A rich landscape of natural elements with a highly stylized, contemporary edge makes up the look of ZED451 in Boca Raton. Unlike most restaurant designs with a single main dining room, ZED451 breaks up the space, offering guests many options from which to choose. Anticipated to be one of the most popular areas of the restaurant is the 3,000 square foot patio with an indoor/outdoor bar. Guests will be able to choose from a number of different cozy seating options surrounded by a water feature, or in front of the fireplace. The indoor lounge features a glass-enclosed wine cellar and tasting room with a live edge wood table and custom wine glass chandelier. Another focal point is the large communal table in the center of the restaurant, which is surrounded by the completely open kitchen and lavish Harvest Tables. There are several private dining areas throughout the restaurant, including a glassed-enclosed wine room with a fireplace. Wood floors, stone accents and artistic lighting provide a sense of comfort, which are contrasted by the clean lines of the white leather seating. “Guests have described the space as ‘rustic and sexy,’” says Chief Brand Officer Daniel Harf. “The most common response I get when I give someone a tour is, ‘Wow!’"

The name, ZED451, was derived from the combination of the last letter in the British alphabet and one of the degrees Fahrenheit reaches combustion. The name reflects the experience: Zed, “the end,” represents the culmination of the owners’ experiences, and 451, “fire,” symbolizes how the experience begins.

ZED451 in Boca Raton offers dinner seven days a week beginning at 4 pm. Reservations can be made by calling (561) 393.3451; through the restaurant’s website,, or via email at The restaurant is located at 201 Plaza Real in Boca Raton’s popular Mizner Park outdoor lifestyle center.
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Monday, October 13, 2008


Instead of going back and forth trying to understand what ZED451 is and how it differs from what many are calling a "Brazilian-style" of service, I thought I'd go straight to my sources. I spoke to Daniel Harf, Chief Brand Officer of Tavistock Restaurants, this afternoon to help us understand how ZED451 is changing one's dining experience.

JK: So tell me about the evolution of the ZED concept? I know it started off as Sal & Carvao in Chicago but can you explain it a bit more?
DH: The only thing we kept from the Sal & Carvao concept was the prix fixe menu and the service style, that's it. We wanted to give guests something more familiar - like dining in ones home rather than in a typical restaurant environment. It's like when I have friends come over, I want to provide them with a really comfortable experience where we can interact and learn something new together. We engage in conversation, talk to a bunch of people and I always like to expose my guests to something new, whether it be a new song on my iPod or trying a new and different ingredient. It's all about experience. I want people who leave my house to feel more fulfilled than when they got there, and that's exactly how we want guests to feel when they leave ZED451.

JK: What has been the biggest challenge you've faced with people understanding what ZED451 "is" and what "it is not?" You must keep hearing people refer to ZED451 as a Brazillian Churrascaria.
DH: Funny. Our guests "get it." The second they walk into the restaurant, they understand that the food, the style and the service are all about making their dining experience more unique than ever before. It's really the media that has a hard time grasping the concept. They're the only ones still using the "B" word.

JK: How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?
DH: We strive to create our own space and we didn't want to compete in the steakhouse or fine dining waters. We set out to create something truly unique. The style of dining - the guest controlled experience as we call it - is risk free and full of adventure. There's uniqueness in the design, the food - which we describe as Modern Upscale Grilling - and the positive use of space and the environment. It's a combination of all of these elements that make us unique.

JK: The space is clearly gorgeous and very refined. What's the thought behind the design?
DH: I think the most important thing to understand is that we wanted to create synergy amongst the music, the food, the service and the space; we wanted to strike a balance between comfort and adventure. A little edge. A little surprise. We play music that is familiar, but then you may hear something that you like but you can't place the song or artist. It's the same with the space. Every time you turn a corner, you may discover a new texture or element. There's dark wood, stone, fire, white leather - all design elements that remind you that we've put great thought into all the details. To guests, these seem effortless and provide them with a sense of comfort.

JK: The food? People in Chicago rave about the grilled meats, fish, poultry and the uniqueness of the Harvest Tables. What is the deal with the menu?
DH: We constantly change the menu and in fact, we change it everyday. The food and drinks are driven by seasonality, not because it's a trend, but because it just tastes better. When you eat food fresh in season, the costs are kept low and the offerings are at the highest. We want to provide guests with the best possible ingredients and we can do that by choosing produce in season.

JK: Can you tell me about your marketing efforts here in South Florida?
DH: One thing that is important to note is our ZED bus. The branded bus will pick you up and take you back to your hotel, office or convention center. We want to make it easy for you. The driver of the bus is just as much part of the dining experience as is eating your meal. Other efforts we're currently participating in include: travel related publications, we're teaming up with local charities and we're looking to create solid relationships with local hotels and convention centers. Building brand awareness and creating word of mouth is key. We are always asking guests their thoughts and encourage them to spread the word to their friends.

JK: Sorry to keep you Daniel, but one more question.........what would you want guests to know about ZED451 if they haven't been there yet?
DH: ZED451 is truly an experience that encompasses 3 important key elements: service intelligence, unique food and delivery and unprecedented design. With the combination and consistency of these three things, we are excited about the expansion and growth of the ZED451 brand. Essentially, the service makes you feel good about us, and the experience makes you feel good about yourself and if we achieve that, then we've done our job.

Julie Kaminiski
Echo Point Communications

ZED451 Boca Raton opens to the public Monday, November 9, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008


The buzz has started and the doors are about to open in Mizner Park on Friday, November 7, 2008. The final details are coming together for this innovative MODERN UPSCALE GRILLING revolution - something south Florida has yet to experience. Below is a recent article written in Chain Leader magazine to help explain what exactly does this all mean......

ZED451's World View: ZED451 evolves from Brazilian Churrascaria into an international steakhouse focusing on the guest experience.
By Maya Norris, Managing Editor
Chain Leader, 10/1/2008

Although ZED debuted in 2007 in Downers Grove and Schaumburg, Ill., the Chicago unit, which opened in April, features the prototype the company will use as it expands. The modern, rustic decor includes hickory and walnut floors, a circular fire pit, wood slats on the ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows.

ZED451 has broken away from its Brazilian churrascaria roots in favor of a concept that focuses on international flavors and guest-focused hospitality. The three-unit steakhouse chain hopes the makeover will position it for national expansion.

In 2005, Emeryville, Calif.-based Tavistock Restaurants bought Sal & Carvao, a Brazilian steakhouse with three units in Illinois. But it soon realized the red-meat focus and basic salad bar didn't appeal to women and triggered a veto vote. In addition, the segment was becoming crowded with competitors such as Brazzaz and Texas de Brazil. So Tavistock spent two-and-a-half years redeveloping the concept into an international, upscale steakhouse.

ZED451 debuted in June 2007 at the Schaumburg and Downers Grove, Ill., stores and in April at the Chicago unit. The only element the company kept from Sal & Carvao was the prix-fixe menu and service style. For $49, guests receive unlimited portions of meat, fish and poultry cooked over a fire pit as well as items from the salad bar, which ZED calls the Harvest Table. Instead of servers dressed in gaucho outfits, chefs clad in chefs' whites now present and carve the proteins tableside.

The menu now features global flavors and has been expanded to include poultry and fish. Popular items include Citrus Salmon, Buttermilk Marinated Bottom Sirloin and Mediterranean Chicken Breast. The Harvest Table features seasonal soups, breads, artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, spreads and side dishes such as Steamed Baby Bok Choy with a sweet orange and chili glaze. Guests can order the salad bar only for $26.

"It's a superior guest experience," says COO Daniel Harf. "They get to control the pace and the portion. It's that unlimited sampling. That sense of adventure."

Unlike the previous design, which had only a dining room, the new prototype breaks up the space to give guests different dining experiences. For those dining with a big group, the restaurants have communal tables and couches on the rooftop patio. Guests who prefer a more intimate experience may hang out at the cabanas on the patio, circular banquettes or smaller dining tables.

For an interactive experience, customers can dine at the chef's counter to talk with the chefs as they cook the food or at the wine bar to learn more about the 75 to 95 varietals on ZED's global wine list and watch the bartenders make ZED's seasonal specialty cocktails.

ZED seeks to enhance the guest experience before and after the meal, too.
The staff is trained to act as a concierge by helping customers make reservations at other restaurants, lounges and bars following their meals. The company has a shuttle bus wrapped in ZED advertising to pick up and return guests to their hotels or take them to their next destination.

The next step in ZED's evolution is expansion. ZED is looking for urban areas that have locals, businesspeople and tourists. It will open in Boca Raton, Fla., in 2008, Orlando and Scottsdale, Ariz., in 2009, and Boston in 2010. The company expects at least 30 units nationwide in five years.
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