Food and Camaraderie at Zookeeper Bistro
Zookeeper Bistro has a spruced up look just in time for the Busy Season, yet it maintains its warm, friendly atmosphere and its extraordinary menu. It’s located at 45 Slabtown Road in Cashiers.
Zookeeper Bistro, for reasons that are obvious to everyone who spends time there, is an inviting spot where folks come to dine and socialize.
Here, loyal regulars routinely gather for good food and camaraderie – the habitués know everybody there, staff and customers alike.
Occupying a spot in the row of buildings that make up the shopping center along the Slabtown Road, Zookeeper is owned by Tanya and John Saporito. Veterans of the restaurant business from Central Florida, they purchased the restaurant in 2009. John, a long time and experienced chef runs the kitchen and Tanya oversees the operations at the front of the house.
Last year, despite regulations dictating reduced capacity, and growing concerns created by the pandemic, the couple decided it was time to renovate. So, at the start of this year, they shuttered the restaurant for two-and-a-half months to refresh the Dining Room and reinvigorate the Kitchen.
Since their re-opening in March, they’ve been welcoming guests back, showcasing their new interiors.
Inside, the Dining Room has been refreshed with wood flooring, cream-colored walls and shiny new tables and chairs. With the pandemic generating increased demands for outdoor dining, an exterior patio has been added alongside the building with seating for 20 guests.
At the time of this writing, Tanya was working on adding flowering plants outside, and still on the agenda is a planned enclosure of the area. New equipment has been added to the Kitchen to ensure the continued efficient delivery of food.
The menu is comforting and contemporary. And whether it’s a lazy Sunday morning or a hurried weekday, diners crowd in during all opening hours – Tuesday through Saturday from 7:30 A.M to 2:00 P.M., and on Sunday from 8:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. for the deeply “breakfasty” items. A little indulgent and yet still somehow appropriate at any time of the day, there are savory omelets with luxurious fillings, fluffy stacks of pancakes, that star of the brunch table Eggs Benedict, and a decadent version of the dish – Crab Benedict. Also served up are wrapped breakfast sandwiches and a creamy daily quiche reminiscent of those served in French cafés of yore. Lunch, no less beloved, is served beginning at 11:00 each day. Typically, the lunch menu offers great salads, and burgers and fries along with a sensational Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich and a classic BLT – made the real way.
Recapping her incentives for the renovation she recounts that, “Some of our customers are like family; we wanted to make this place as good as it could be.”