We’re back with another Zarda Bar-B-Q team member in our “Get to Know” series! Sarah is the Catering Manager at our Lenexa location. Sarah oversees Zarda catering events such as weddings, anniversaries and employee appreciation meals. Learn more about Sarah, her family connections to Zarda, and her favorite secret menu item!
1. You’re a Zarda yourself, how did you get your start and how long have you been in the business?
Yes, Suzanne Zarda is actually my cousin and her dad, Steve Zarda is my uncle. I’ve been at Zarda about 7 and a half years, starting as a front counter employee, then moving up to supervisor, and then took over catering.
2. What’s a day in the life like for you at Zarda?
I usually come in and get the orders prepped, I make sure the kitchen has everything they need for the day. They know what time everything needs to be ready, so I make sure that all the place settings are ready. I usually count the drawers then as well. This all happens before 10am! Then I start working on orders for later in the week, and working on returning customer phone calls and emails. We’ll make sure all the orders are out on time and everything is checked off on each box to make sure everything is in each order.
3. What part of your job at Zarda do you enjoy the most?
I really enjoy helping customers make their special event special. I was actually talking to a customer today and they also asked me what I enjoy most, and I said, “I really enjoy the fact that I get to help you make your day special, and take the pressure off of you.” When we do our job the right way, we’re able to take so much pressure off the customer.
4. What is your personal favorite thing on the Zarda menu, and what makes it so good?
My favorite combo is turkey and sliced sausage – since I was little that has always been my favorite. The cheesy potato bake is one of my personal favorites as well. The fried cauliflower we’ve actually shipped to my cousins in California – they love it and they can’t get it out there!
5. Tell us a little bit about your family and what you like to do outside of work?
I’m really close to my entire family – my mom and dad and my younger brother. Outside of work I really love sports, I’m a huge Chiefs and Royals fans. I also love concerts – especially outdoor concerts. With the pandemic I’ve really missed going to see live music, I especially love country music concerts. I saw Garth Brooks at the Sprint Center the last time he was here, and that was my favorite concert! I’ve also been to 12 different Eric Church shows, so yes, one of my favorite things to do is go to concerts!
6. What is the one thing on the menu that every visitor to Zarda needs to try?
Definitely the sliced sausage sandwich – it is so good, you really should try it! The flavor is so unique – it doesn’t even need sauce! And if I were to pick a sauce, maybe try the sausage sandwich with the “new recipe” Ghost Sauce.
7. What are your favorite memories of working at Zarda?
When we won Kansas City’s “Best Burnt Ends” contest, that was insane! The amount of people that came in to try them was so crazy – we had so much fun with it. Other favorite memories were the the World Series run and the Super Bowl win – everybody was in such a good mood. We were super busy, but it was awesome, everybody loved it! As far as some memorable catering events, I catered a wedding at a theatre in Lawrence and our prep area was backstage and it was very dark and it was pretty crazy. It was very unique and different – and so much fun. We once catered the workers at this construction site where we had to cross over two 2×4’s and roll our carts over a moat to get into this building, so that was definitely pretty challenging! We went out and fed their employees in the rain, we had to wear muck boots. It was a fun day!
8. What accomplishment are you most proud of during your time at Zarda?
I’m just really proud of the fact that we can take a lot of pressure off the bride and groom. That is one less thing they have to worry about – we just try to help them out as much as possible.
9. What separates Zarda BBQ from other KC BBQ places?
I think it’s our staff and friendly service. The fact that we are a family-owned business is also a huge thing. We’re not a big corporate group – we’re like one big family.
10. If you could create one menu item for Zarda what would it be – describe it to us!
I would probably do a BBQ quesadilla. Make it with pulled pork or BBQ chicken with pepper jack with some BBQ sauce on there, oh yeah! I would like to have another vegetarian catering option in future – maybe something with Jackfruit.