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Meet Zora R. Wesley of Z’s Catfish in Rockwall

Today we’d like to introduce you to Zora R. Wesley.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Growing up, I was my Mother’s only child. She allowed me to do and be a part of different things. I was a girl scout (a BlueBird), I was the first girls to play baseball with the boys in the state of California, I Bowled, Crocheted, sewed and was a member of a pre-teen social club that afforded me the opportunity to be a part of the 4-H Club.

I was very active as a kid, very competitive. As a kid, I dreamed of one day bowling in the US Open. I made that a reality and participated in the tournament twice. I have bowled 3 perfect games with rings to prove it.

As a kid, I have always enjoyed cooking and would watch my Mother and Grandmother as they prepared meals and would help on occasion. My Grandmother would cook without measuring, so I made it my mission to perfect her recipes and write the measurements on paper to one day pass the recipes down to my children or any family member who needed them.

I moved to Texas in 1998 from California. Upon arriving I noticed the need for a Soul Food Restaurant in my area, which was Plano at the time. I set out looking for a second generation location to open a restaurant. My home back in California was the gathering place for holidays, as I would do most of the cooking, to my family’s delight. I thought my family recipes would be great to use in my own restaurant, if I could find a second generation space to start it.

After looking for 15 years for the perfect spot, I stumbled upon a location in Rockwall, that was occupied when I first looked at it. When I was about to give up on the idea of opening a restaurant, I decided to go back to the Rockwall location one last time, and upon doing so, I was told that the space was now vacant. My family’s recipes are now a staple in our Family Owned and Run Restaurant “Z’s Catfish.”

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It hasn’t been a smooth road. This is my first restaurant and I have had to learn things as I go. I have had to learn every aspect of the business through trial and error, luckily, I haven’t made to many errors.

Some of the struggles have been finding help and trying to run the business without going into major debt.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Z’s Catfish – what should we know?
Z’s Catfish is a Soul Food Restaurant. We make everything from scratch, nothing’s from the can except the peaches we use to make our Peach Cobbler, the crust is made from scratch.

We specialize in Catfish (No Basa/Swai). We are known for our Collard Greens and our desserts. Our customers write on the walls what they enjoy most at the restaurant, so there are mixed reviews as to what’s best. We also serve Shrimp and Chicken Strips.

Our sides are: Collard Greens, Candied Yams, Red Beans & Rice, Fried Corn, Black Eye Peas, Coleslaw, Fries, Macaroni & Cheese, Hushpuppies and Fried Cornbread. We also have specials that we announce via Facebook. There’s also a secret menu.

I am most proud of the company that we have been able to be as successful as we have without any experience. What sets us apart from others is our honesty and pride in what we do. When we tell you that were serving Catfish, we really are. We greet our customers with a friendly smile and welcome them as though they’re guests in our home.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My family and friends deserves credit, they have gone over and beyond to help make Z’s Catfish what it is today. My employees help with making Z’s an enjoyable experience, we couldn’t do it without them. My Family Velma (my Mother), Fred (my Husband), Linda (my Aunt), Corey (my Son), Brandon (my Son), Akilah (my Daughter), Justin (my Cousin), Alvin (my Uncle), Dawaun (my Cousin), Courtney (my children’s Godmother) and several family members, too many to name here, have played an intrical part in making Z’s a success.

They have helped by being there through the daily aspects of running Z’s, to travelling from California to stay weeks or months at a time to lend a helping hand where needed. Without my family’s support, there would be no Z’s Catfish.

Pricing:

  • We have meals for everyone’s budget. Prices range from $5.95 to $65.90

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageDallas is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

2 Comments

  1. Kimberly Collyear

    September 19, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    I love me some Z’s. The best soul food place in the Dallas area. Love the family love that you receive when you eat there. Keep up the good work

  2. LaVina

    September 20, 2017 at 11:42 am

    I’ve visited I’d about 6 times. I love The catfish, yams, greens and cornbread.

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