ZBest Owner Eran Salzmann said, “I’m a big fan of pork. I like cooking different kinds of pork. Just anything that’s fresh.”

Not too far off I-80, chef Eran Salzmann serves up dishes where his career started to simmer.

Salzmann said, “This is the first restaurant I worked in as a child when I was 13. It was called the Longhorn, and I thought it would be neat to do a full circle and come back and finish up, I hope, my career here at ZBest in Annawan.”

At the age of 13, making $3.50 an hour, it was to help fuel another passion.

Salzmann said, “I race motorcycles. So, my father said you need to get a job to help fund some of these racing expenditures.”

But cooking quickly made itself his profession, and at 19-years-old, he was in New York learning from some of the best.

Salzmann said, “Applied for Culinary School of America and got accepted and I went out there at the age of 19. Quite scary to load up my Taurus and drove out there by myself.”

It started a career taking him all over.

Salzmann said, “Fresh Food Concepts. I worked for them for about ten years. Dallas, North Palm Beach, Scottsdale, Iowa City, Coralville area. After that, I worked for Biaggi’s Restaurant Group.

Salzmann said after all those travels, it was home he wanted to bring back to his menu.

Salzmann said, “ZBest opened in 2008 in Sheffield, Illinois and it’s named after my grandmother, Zerenna Brandt.”

It was her cooking that defines the plates he makes.

Salzmann said, “Really inspirational working with her and always having good food. To cook it fresh and snap the green beans with her.”

In 2015, he moved into the old home of Longhorn to continue that journey and recently deciding to close his Sheffield restaurant to focus on his new location.

But Salzmann said the goal with his restaurant harkens back to the Sunday dinners at his grandma’s.

Salzmann said, “It’s always around family and just to know that they enjoyed it here is the most rewarding thing.”