Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jeanette Zinno, Creative Director and Partner at Leland Eating & Drinking House, located in Brooklyn, NY, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Leland Eating & Drinking House is a neighborhood restaurant and bar in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, NY. We serve healthy New York Mediterranean cuisine without forgoing flavor, locally sourced and seasonal. We butcher our own meats and fish from nose-to-tail, pickle and ferment in-house and bake our own bread.

Leland Baking House is our online bakery that caters to the neighborhood. We sell bread and baked goods that are made to order every Thursday. This allows us to make only what is sold with no waste.

Our core customers are neighbors and New Yorkers. We were recently featured on The Food Network in a show titled “Me or the Menu,” which gave us a platform to reach customers nationally and internationally. You can stream the show on Discovery+.

Tell us about yourself

I’ve actually never worked in the hospitality industry other than serving and bartending in college. My fiancé, Randi Lee, has been in the business for 25 years and decided to open his first independent restaurant. He signed a lease in February 2020, and then we renovated the massive space together during the Covid-19 quarantine. We opened in December 2020, and I helped during those days because it was difficult to hire staff. I’m now a part of the core team as the Creative Director and run our public relations, marketing, and events. My background is in public relations, and I’m a travel writer. I’m an entrepreneur and have always worked for myself. I’m motivated by happy guests!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Opening a restaurant during the pandemic that is still open today.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Work-life balance.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. If it’s a brick-and-mortar business, find the right location and spend time in the area. Don’t underestimate the power of your neighborhood.
  2. Hire people with whom you’d want to sit down and have a glass of wine.
  3. If you’re raising money, there are many new crowdfunding platforms you should consider.

Where can people find you and your business?

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If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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