Our mission is to create a great place where people in our community can gather, enjoy a high quality meal and experience Mexican food that is fresh, light and can be consumed every day. We began our journey 25 years ago by planning to open a restaurant that would not only provide South Florida with a taste of Mexican food but to create an environment that was not your everyday run of the mill eatery.
Co-founder Oscar de Armas moved to South Florida from Southern California. Shortly after acclimating himself and his family to their new home, they realized that the Mexican food being served in South Florida did not compare to that of the West Coast. Oscar and his wife longed to find a place that was close to what they considered great Mexican food but simply could not find one. As they traveled back and forth to Southern California they often talked about their desire to bring this style of authentic Mexican food to South Florida.
As destiny would have it, Oscar was traveling through an airport and ran into his lifelong friend Tim Dobravolskis who had established himself as a successful restaurateur. They spoke about Tim's experiences and Oscar mentioned to Tim how he felt there was a tremendous opportunity to bring great Mexican food to Ft. Lauderdale. It turned out Tim was looking for a change of pace, and the two created a plan to get together and explore the potential in South Florida. Over the next year Oscar and Tim looked for the best location and discussed their vision of a great restaurant.
Since Tim's previous restaurant experience evolved around high end white tablecloth restaurants, the two agreed to conceptually maintain the same quality of food and guest driven mind set, translated into a quick service, inexpensive casual environment. To create a fresh, light Mexican dining experience, Tim's inspiration came from the coastal region on the Baja Peninsula.
"I love the bold, simple flavors that Baja California has to offer, without the use of lard or heavy sauces"
- Tim Dobravolskis
Oscar introduced his close friend Martin Diaz-Yabor to Tim, and the entrepreneurial trio has since opened Zona's Plantation location followed by the Pompano Beach and Coral Springs locations, with franchises in Delray Beach and New Jersey and more locations coming soon! However, one of the most exciting openings has been the Ft. Lauderdale airport, where the concept and conversation for Zona Fresca initially began.
The Zona Fresca motto has remained the same:
to serve not your everyday Mexican food,
but Mexican food you can eat every day.