Food & Family
The Zacconi Story
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
Roots – 1960s
Our roots have always been in food and family. Our recipe for success includes community, connections and caring. The Zacconi Story began with Santo and Concetta when they opened Zacconi Confectionary on Bell Street in the1960s. It was a small store where their kids and cousins all helped to run the business. Their son, Joe, would deliver groceries to those who had difficulties getting there. Credit was also given out to those who needed it, on nothing more than a promise to come back when they could. This was just the start of creating community.
Caffe Italia – 1970s/1980s
Eventually, Joe Zacconi branched out on his own and bought Caffe Italia at 228 Preston Street, in the late 1970s. It was a place where local friends could meet up and share an espresso, or a game of cards, or play billiards. Joe’s wife, Gina, would help at the bar making espressos and serving snacks. A few years later, in 1981, they opened an Italian restaurant in the space and renamed it Caffe Italia Trattoria. It took off like a rocket. It was so well received, that after a few years, they were ready to expand again.
Sala San Marco – late 1980s
Joe and Gina opened Sala San Marco Banquet Hall at 215 Preston Street in 1987. There was finally a place for larger gatherings (up to 500 people) to enjoy the food and hospitality that Zacconi had become famous for providing. Weddings were the biggest part of the business, but it soon branched out to all sorts of social gatherings, charity, and corporate events.
Evolution – 2000s
In 2009, their son Tony Zacconi bought the business from them, and carried on the legacy of one of Ottawa’s best event spaces. People have come to expect only the best in food and hospitality from Sala San Marco, and Tony continued to improve upon a very solid foundation. Constant innovation and an “owner in the store” policy helped keep that high level of service and that personal touch everyone is looking for. Sala San Marco has since won awards for Ottawa’s Best Wedding Venue and Best Corporate Venue in 2014 and 2018.
Mercato Zacconi – 2021
The next chapter brings us to today, with Mercato Zacconi, both a long-time vision for Tony and a response to recent events. Like many other businesses, the global pandemic forced the total or partial lockdown of Sala San Marco for over 18 months. It strained a successful family business, one where countless people in Ottawa have fond memories of weddings and parties and gatherings. Families who relied on Sala for employment were devastated. Tony couldn’t just sit back and watch what his family had built over the years be destroyed. He felt that he had to do something different for his family, and for the community. It was at this time that Tony had the idea and vision for Mercato Zacconi.
Mercato Zacconi is a unique marketplace inviting the community to shop, eat, and indulge. It is a space created for people to shop for fresh produce and meats and to gather for a coffee or indulge in a meal in the piazza. There is a focus on carefully prepared foods ready to eat or take away and enjoy at home. There are over 150 different wines to choose from to accompany any of the amazing meals being prepared fresh daily. There are places in the piazza to sit and eat with friends and family or stand at the bar for a quick coffee and snack. The vision for Mercato Zacconi combines all the elements of the family business, past and present, into one innovative experience unique to Ottawa.
Mercato Zacconi is the next step in shopping, eating, and indulging in the very best food and beverage products available today, all carefully curated by Tony. Going for a bite to eat or even grocery shopping will never be the same. It is an experience like no other at Mercato Zacconi.
Join us to shop, eat, and indulge. We can’t wait to see you!
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