Seven years after opening an Italian fine-dining restaurant in Pickerington, Mohammed Zaman, owner of Omezzo Italian Restaurant, has a new venture he hopes will lead to further expansion.
Those familiar with "Chef Z" and his Omezzo Italian Restaurant , 1755 Hill Road N., in the Shoppes at Turnberry, will not have to look far if they want to try his newest restaurant.
Omezzo Pasta Bowl 2 Go, a fast-casual, Italian venture featuring Zaman's signature sauces and meatballs, opened Nov. 13 at 1757 Hill Road N., Pickerington.
It is next door to Omezzo Italian.
"I wanted to do a smaller menu but still the same fresh ingredients, fresh food, cooked to order. It's not a lot different," said Zaman, better known as "Chef Z."
"The difference is, over (at Omezzo Italian), you're doing fine-dining style. It's chicken Milanese, chicken Francaise, chicken marsala, veal marsala, picatta, scallop shrimp -- stuff like that.
"Over here, it's more like basic lasagna, meatball, meat sauce, chicken alfredo, shrimp alfredo, mildly spicy pasta Omezzo, diavolo, mushroom ravioli, cheese ravioli -- stuff like that."
Most Omezzo Pasta Bowl 2 Go entrees range from $10 to $15, and Zaman said it will offer convenience because food will be made quickly.
"You sit down and eat, or you can take it home," he said. "Also, we're doing deliver with Uber Eats, Grubhub and DoorDash.
"The item you choose, we can make it in five to 10 minutes. It's not going to be a long wait after you order your food. Ten to 15 minutes, you should be out the door."
Zaman said he hopes to provide food made with fresh ingredients at reasonable prices.
"Everything is made fresh," he said. "We make our alfredo sauce, our marina sauce, meatballs, lasagna, diavolo sauce, everything."
If the concept catches on, he hopes to open similar stores in Lancaster, Dublin and Canal Winchester by the end of 2021.
"I want to open more restaurants," he said. "I'm looking at probably the end of next year.
"I want to see after six months how this trend goes."
In addition to dine-in, carryout and delivery, Omezzo Pasta Bowl 2 Go will offer catering.
The new store is 2,590 square feet. Omezzo Italian next door is 2,475 square feet.
Zaman said now that he has restaurants in both spaces, he hopes to open them up for private parties.
"We easily can do a 100-person party here," he said.
Zaman has been in the Italian restaurant business roughly 30 years.
He started at a restaurant in Greenwich Village in New York City after graduating from New York University and finding a career in computer science unsatisfying.
"I was a computer programmer," he said. "I worked for two years and gave up.
"I said, 'This is not the thing I really want to do.' "
Prior to opening Omezzo Italian, Zaman was executive chef in the Columbus area at Bravo and Brio restaurants.
"When I heard that Omezzo would be expanding to include Pasta Bowl 2 Go, I was thrilled to have another option for a quick, healthy and fresh made meal in town," said Theresa Byers, Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce president. "Mohammed has had much success over the last seven years as owner of Omezzo Italian Restaurant.
"This is just another fantastic addition to his already delicious food options. We look forward to seeing him continue to grow and serve Pickerington."
Omezzo Pasta Bowl 2 Go is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and Saturdays; 4 to 9 p.m. Fridays; and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.