We had the good fortune of connecting with Adrianna Zizzo and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Adrianna, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My family owned an Italian restaurant for 15 years, up until my first year of college. I always knew that owning my parent’s restaurant or potentially my own business was something I wanted for my future. However, after my family got rid of their business I was no longer inspired to start my own and was unsure of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I worked two jobs serving tables to put myself through culinary school. I graduated with a degree in Baking and Pastry, hoping to find a job in a bakery or chocolate shop. After searching for jobs that “spoke to me”, I became less and less interested in the baking/culinary world and found myself back to serving tables. Throughout the years of serving tables, I still continued to cook regularly and often people would order cakes or cupcakes from me for birthdays and special occasions. A few years after getting back into the restaurant industry and serving tables, I started to notice people were starting businesses and selling at Farmer’s Markets. I noticed several different types of businesses in the markets, but I noticed it was missing something. An Italian representative. I felt like I saw every culture being represented at the markets, except for Italian. So, I spent 6 months learning from and asking family members for recipes that had been handed down in our family. Once I felt that I had perfected a few recipes, Not Your Nonna’s Sauce Company was born in the Fall of 2018!

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Not Your Nonna’s is a small batch pasta sauce company made with local and authentic ingredients. We use the highest quality tomatoes possible to ensure the best tasting sauces. Our mission statement is to provide our customers with fresh and authentic sauces as well as continuing to care about the environment. We use as much recyclable materials as possible in our packaging to create minimal waste. Not Your Nonna’s is also allergen and diet inclusive. All but one of our sauces are vegan, along with no added sugars or preservatives. Every sauce has around seven ingredients total. The one sauce that is not vegan is our traditional Pesto, which has imported Pecorino Romano. Which is a cheese made from sheep’s milk, so it is dairy free and does not have any lactose. The goal of the company was the create sauces that everyone could enjoy, regardless of dietary restrictions and needs. We are constantly working to create new flavors for everyone to enjoy! Business-wise, I worked two jobs while simultaneously starting my business for almost a year. Then COVID hit and I lost both of my jobs and was forced to submerge myself into my business to start making money to pay bills. I started offering delivery within San Diego County and the business just took off! It was the push that I needed to get take my business to the next level. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve had to strategize purchasing product and be sure to stay on top of supplies. There has been a glass shortage since June and getting jars has been difficult. I’ve had to change my jars and labels to adapt to the ever changing supply of glass jars. It has taken a bit of time, but I have developed a method to my madness and I think I’m starting to get the hang of running a business in the middle of a global pandemic, At least, I think. Is it easy? Absolutely not. Is it worth it? 100%! Working for myself has been such an amazing career choice and I constantly advise my friends, family and community to do the same.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We are going to pretend that a pandemic isn’t happening so I can paint a better picture of my ideal San Diego trip! Immediately after picking up my friend from the airport, we are going into OB to get some Poke from It’s Raw Poke and walking down to the water to enjoy some fresh Poke and Mac Salad. After that, walking around Newport Ave for some chachkies and grabbing a dirty martini from Tony’s. That would bring us into the night life of OB, where we can watch some fire dancers, drum circles, surfers and all of the other amazing performers that show off their skills at the beach! The following day would be spent thrifting at some of my favorite shops in town. I’ve got a handful of fantastic thrift shops that I shop at regularly and honestly, I can’t release anymore information beyond that. Then we would get some lunch at one of my absolute favorite bars in all of San Diego, The High Dive Bar & Grill. Not only is their food TV worthy, but their drinks are stiff and the staff makes you feel like a regular, even if it’s your first time there. The next day, we’d go to a baseball game at Petco Park. Before the game, we’re going to stop by the Blind Burro for some tacos and tequila shots and then hop across the street to Bubs for one last drink before watching the Padres dominate a game! After the game is over, we’re going to Moonshine Flats. I know what you’re thinking, “a country bar?!” But don’t knock it til you try it! The place is massive! You can dance, play games, eat some delicious bbq or just chill out and enjoy a drink. I prefer the latter. So we will end up dancing the night away to some boot scoot n’ boogie and Lyft home. After that long day of drinkin and partying. We deserve a day at the beach to soak up some sun and relaxation. We’re going back into OB with some deli sandwiches from Chris’ Liquor & Deli and setting up our towels for a day in the sun. Later on that night we will take a stroll through the OB Farmer’s Market for some local food, live music and people watching. She’s leaving in a day, so we only have a so much time to explore the rest of town. We take the next day into North Park and brewery hop along 30th street. Starting at my favorite spot Fall brewing and work our way down to North Park Brewing. Along the way, we grab some Kalua Pork from Ono Grinds and a donut or two from Nomad Donuts. Perhaps, stopping into Verbatim for a book as well. But mainly there to drink beers and eat good food. For dinner, we’ll grab sushi from Saiko and end up in a food coma and go home and watch movies. Today is the day she leaves, but we still have time to grab some breakfast and do one more activity. We head back to the High Dive for breakfast. When I tell you their breakfast is the best in town, I’m not lying. We grab a breakfast burrito, giant pancake, acai bowl and some breakfast shots to get our day going. From there we head to a pop up art show and check out some local art before taking her back to the airport.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
You know the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child”? I honestly feel that I have an incredible village of people supporting, mentoring and helping me along my journey. However, if I had to choose one person that has truly inspired me, it would be my Dad. While growing up in my family’s restaurant, he taught me how to cook. He never wrote any recipes down (and still doesn’t!) so I had to be sure to pay attention to what he was doing. He cooks by taste and smell, rather than measurements. I was constantly standing over his shoulder, smelling and tasting every single thing he was creating and watching his every move. Over time, I learned to do the same and I continue that same practice in my own business. My Dad is the hardest worker I’ve ever known and has many years of cooking under his belt, along with some incredible stories! I’ve always strived to be just like him. My dad supports me, cheers me on and does not allow me to give up. Not only does he deserve to receive recognition for teaching me everything I know, but for being an amazing support system in my life. I truly would not be here without his help and mentorship.

Website: www.notyournonnassauce.com
Instagram: notyournonnas_sd
Facebook: notyournonnas_sd

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.