A family business thrives with dedication to quality food and love for communities they serve

In-Focus | Published May 15, 2024

 Duane Najarian Jr.

Duane Najarian Jr.

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MADISON HEIGHTS/LIVONIA — Zino’s Subs & Pizza is a testament to the enduring power of family legacy, resilience, and passion. Created from the vision of a father and his son, Zino’s began as a humble family venture. “My dad had always loved to cook and serve delicious food for others,” recalls Duane Najarian Jr., current owner and manager. The father-son partnership operated on mutual respect and love for food, with Dad mentoring the then-19-year-old to one day take the reins.

In 2017, tragedy struck when the patriarch passed away far too soon, leaving both Duane Jr. and the business unsteady. Stepping up at age 27, Duane embraced his father’s legacy with tenacity. Despite his grief, he stepped into his newly evolved role as a family business owner and began managing the two Zino’s locations with the help of lifelong friends, extended family and his two younger brothers.

The team ensured that quality continued to anchor their work in honor of Duane Najarian Sr. Even during production issues and shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic, they were determined to source the best ingredients possible for their beloved products. Few changes have been made since then, but Duane emphasizes, “We’re always looking for ways to improve our recipes, but we would never, and will never, compromise quality.”

Quality at Zino’s starts with the products sourced but does not end there. Many of their cornerstone menu items are made in-house, because, despite searching, no supplier can compare. Their dough is kneaded fresh in batches for sub buns and pizza crust, then proofed atop their pizza ovens; sauces and dressings are mixed by hand using family recipes; and their signature blend of pizza cheeses is shredded from bricks and mixed in-house.

The family-owned and operated business takes pride knowing that the quality food they are dedicated to serving does not just satisfy cravings, it creates a chance for connection and joy around other families’ tables.

When asked about the possibility of expanding Zino’s, Duane shared: “I’m content. We have two locations that are excellent at what they do, staffed by people I care about, and loved by their communities. My focus is on maintaining the quality and consistency that have made us successful. I want to ensure that every customer continues to receive the best service and most delicious food we can offer, while also preserving a work-life balance that allows us to enjoy this journey.”

Call Zino’s Madison Heights at (248) 439-0977 or pick up your delicious carry-out at 26095 John R Rd. From the Livonia area? Call Zino’s Livonia at (734) 432-9999 located at 9475 Newburgh Rd. Order from both locations online at eatzonosnow.com.

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