Growing Culinary Empires

On this week’s show, we learn the ins and outs of building a culinary empire from restaurant vanguards in Louisiana and beyond.

We begin with self-styled lapsed anarchist Ari Weinzweig, who built a business empire called Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, Michigan—beginning in 1982 with just one deli. Rather than open up a franchise, Ari and his business partner opted to develop new, independent companies rooted within their little college town.

Ari Weinzweig

Ari Weinzweig

Next, we catch up with Jennifer Weishaupt, founder and CEO of the Ruby Slipper Restaurant Group. The Ruby Slipper Café has prospered and multiplied in a way that Jennifer and her husband Eric could never have anticipated when they opened their very first Mid City location in 2008. Jennifer joins us with the latest news of what’s become one of New Orleans’ latest exports.

Finally, we revisit our 2018 interview with Alon Shaya. The New Orleans chef describes his path, starting from unassuming culinary origins in Philadelphia, to his tenure at Domenica, and finally, to the launch of his two new modern Israeli restaurants, Saba and Safta.

Our full 2018 interview with Alon is available on our website. For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at