John Beachboard


Zaza Fine Salad & Wood Oven Pizza Co.

Little Rock

Age: 31

John Beachboard

By the time he was in his late 20s, John Beachboard had been playing in touring rock bands for some time. But he realized that one of his longtime passions just wasn’t as satisfying as it had once been.
“I wanted to really go out and be able to devote 110 percent of my energy, and music wasn’t doing it for me anymore,” he said.
In 2003, Beachboard got a job at Boulevard Bread Co., the Little Rock bakery founded by restaurateur Scott McGehee. McGehee soon promoted Beachboard to sous-chef, and by late 2007 the two were working on McGehee’s newest restaurant concept: Zaza Fine Salad & Wood Oven Pizza Co.
Zaza is wildly popular, with food revenue growing from $761,000 in 2008 to about $1.6 million in 2010, according to city tax records. Beachboard and McGehee have partnered with out-of-state investors to open more Zaza locations across the country. Their new gourmet burger and salad concept, Big Orange, is set to open this summer.
“One of my guiding principles in the restaurant business is to make sure you treat it like a business,” Beachboard said.
But that doesn’t mean the Zaza crew doesn’t find plenty of time to lend a hand to charities and disaster relief via the Zaza mobile oven, which Beachboard uses to provide eats for a number of different causes throughout central Arkansas. He recently took the oven to cook for the volunteers and cleanup crews that were helping tornado victims in Vilonia. n