Hit-and-run claims longtime Sonoma restaurateur

Zino Mezoui, shown with wife Jan, ran the popular Zino’s on the Plaza for 25 years.

Lake County law officers are hunting for the driver of a Suburban involved in the collision that claimed the life of popular Sonoma chef and restaurateur Zino Mezoui.

Mezoui, 57, was killed Friday morning while riding his motorcycle near Kelseyville. He was traveling southbound on Highway 29 when a blue 1993 Chevrolet Suburban entered the highway, directly into his path, from Seigler Canyon Road. The motorcycle, a 1995 Honda Gold Wing, struck the vehicle’s side door, according to the CHP report.

Mezoui was flown by air ambulance to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, but was pronounced dead upon arrival.

The Suburban fled the scene. The CHP located the Suburban the day of the accident, Sept. 24, but the investigation continues as to who was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident.

The charming, ever-smiling restaurateur, known to all simply as Zino, was a popular Sonoma figure. He operated Zino’s on the Plaza for nearly 25 years, and then opened a short-lived restaurant in The Sonoma Hotel.

In 2006, he and his wife Jan relocated to Clear Lake for a planned retirement. But, the French-born Zino noted, coming from three generations of chefs and restaurant owners, his excitement for the business was still very alive. The two then opened Zino’s Ristorante and Inn.


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