Carmine Costantino had a vision to start a café to help a young Raffaele Bettalico establish himself in Toronto, after arriving from Southern Italy.
Starting as a small café in the west end ZAZA quickly became known as the place for a truly authentic Italian cafe experience. With both men having a passion for coffee, and an entrepreneurial mindset they began to look at how they could expand and take this Italian cafe experience throughout the GTA.
The partners set their sights on Yorkville, opening a café where the Gelato Shop (a division of ZAZA) operates today. ZAZA became synonymous with truly authentic
Italian coffee. And even when the original ZAZA Yorkville location moved next door to where it is today at 29 Bellair, and was named COCO ESPRESSO BAR, customers continue to refer to it as ZAZA. This location remains a partnership between Carmine and Raffaele.
After the untimely passing of his beloved wife, Nancy in 2018 Carmine was uncertain if he would be able to continue with the vision he and Nancy had begun exploring to expand ZAZA. The locations he and Nancy owned were closed. In 2019 with the encouragement of his daughters, Carmine opened two ZAZA locations in Yorkville in memory of Nancy, to honour the plans they had to return ZAZA to Yorkville and to continue the legacy they had started for their daughters.
In 2020 a new ZAZA location opened in Bloor West Village and in 2021 the first ZAZA outside of Toronto opened in Innisfil, inside the Friday Harbour Resort. A temporary pop-up location opened in Brookfield Place (has since closed - but ZAZA corporation is hoping to return to the Financial District in the near future). In autumn of 2022 ZAZA took the authentic Italian cafe experience to mid-town opening inside the Yonge Eglinton Centre.