Inoussa Campaore Serves Up What the Neighborhood Wants


Building a New House

While he’s been a Brooklyn resident for more than a decade, Inoussa Campaore’s inspiration for his business’s name derives from his childhood memories in Burkina Faso. The name “Zaca” means “house” in Moore, one of the common spoken languages in Burkina Faso. It’s also a reference to Zaca Restaurant, a restaurant in Burkina Faso which played live music every night. When Inoussa would befriend a curious tourist, this is the spot he would show them. Now that he has found a new home in Brooklyn, Inoussa wants to bring the tourists and locals alike to another spot: his very own restaurant.


A Culinary Passion

For several years, it has been Inoussa’s dream to take his passion and skills for cooking to the next step and open up his own restaurant. His culinary passion was realized at his first and only job upon moving to the United States at Choice Market, a café in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn where he began as a dishwasher and later began cooking. “I love everything about cooking. I like to create something: a menu, my own recipe.” Inoussa saw how much the customers loved a local café like Choice Market and realized he wanted to bring this sort of atmosphere to his own neighborhood in Bedford Stuyvesant. His boss at Choice market, who provided consistent encouragement and guidance, became a role model for Inoussa to start his own café. After 12 years of working at Choice Market, Inoussa felt ready to embark on his entrepreneurial dream.


Putting a Plan into Action

Despite Inoussa’s strong culinary skills and passion, he still needed the financial support to put his dream into action. He worked with CAMBA to develop a business plan, and was then referred by them to Accion. From Accion, Inoussa received an SBA 7a Community Advantage loan of $118,000, which he used the loan to pay for construction and supplies, both huge obstacles in getting the business underway. “There were a lot of expenses that came up,” Inoussa explained, “it’s hard to calculate everything – even if you plan it out, you’re still spending like crazy. I think Accion is very good for people who want to start a business.”


While the name is a testament to his childhood, Zaca Café’s menu is inspired by Inoussa’s years living in Brooklyn. Inoussa is dedicated to giving the people in his neighborhood the exact kind of food they want, with a wide selection of breakfast, lunch and dinner options. Along with owning and operating the establishment, Inoussa also works as the head chef. Inoussa is thrilled to finally have the culinary responsibility and independence he has been dreaming of. “I want to be in the kitchen every day,” he said. “I’m really happy when I create something and the people love it and ask for more.”