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Check Out Zdenko Zovkic’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Zdenko Zovkic. 

Hi Zdenko, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
After a restaurant management apprenticeship at the Inter-Continental Hotel in Cologne, Germany, and a few other experiences in the industry, I honed my skills in concept and fine dining hospitality. I spent many years abroad and across the United States, working in luxury fine dining establishments. Through family, I was offered the opportunity to visit Cleveland and it didn’t take long for me to realize that I had a chance to bring what I had learned over the years to a fresh market. I immersed myself in the local restaurant scene and worked in some of the finest establishments in the city, including the Ritz Carlton which lead to a move to Aspen to open a new property as the new Food and Beverage Director. However, I knew that I wanted to create, use my ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit to add the hospitality landscape in Cleveland. I moved back to Northeast Ohio to open my first restaurant in Bratenahl called Seasons. It short-lived by design as I had my eyes on a space in the warehouse district on the corner of West 6th and St. Clair, which would eventually become XO Prime Steaks, a boutique prime steakhouse. XO quickly blossomed into a region standard for hip and classic approach to fine dining attracting everyone from business leaders, world-class athletes, and foodies alike. The concept became a Cleveland stable for 17 years and I opened a second location in Pepper Pike, Ohio. The revitalization of the flats then drew my interest and I sought property waterside on the Cuyahoga and Lake Erie, today I stand proudly beside my newest concept, Jade New Asian. 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It is no secret; the restaurant industry is one of the toughest industries that exists. There is a constant ebb and flow and really the more creative and flexible you are, while holding fast to your vision, is the key to success. Maneuvering in a post-pandemic world is a daily reimagining of the industry that I have called home for 30 years. I have been blessed to say the least and feel truly grateful to continue to find success doing what I feel called to do. 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am not only an owner but owner operator. I take pride in being involved in day-to-day operations as well conceptualizing the projects from start to finish including design, menu curation, staffing, training, marketing, and more. 

What are your plans for the future?
My concept is very unique in that I essentially have 3 concepts in one; a sushi lounge, a Japanese fusion fine dining kitchen, and a member-exclusive social club on the roof. My immediate plans are to continue to build this brand into a household name across the region… Jade is a great concept for expansion. 

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