The Valley of Heart's Delight



A man of much enterprise, practical and progressive, Stephen D. Zaro, has attained a good measure of success by his perseverance, energy and ambition. Born in Dalmatia, in the town of Bobovisch, Isle of Brac, on July 23, 1865, he is the son of Peter and Madaleine (Sworeicke) Zaro, who were well-to-do farmers of their native land, raising olives and grapes in abundance. The father, Peter Zaro, was a public-spirited man, serving as town trustee, and was a highly esteemed and honored citizen of his community.

Stephen D. Zaro spent his boyhood days on the farm with his parents, and in the year of 1881, he left home to seek his fortune in the United States, coming directly to Santa Cruz, where his brother, Mark Zaro, resided, and who was a pioneer in the restaurant business. Stephen D. Zaro was employed by him for more than seven years, learning thoroughly the restaurant business. When Mr. Zaro was twenty-two, he received word from his father that he wished him to come home to be at his bedside when he passed away, which he did, remaining there for a year and a half, until his father died in 1888 at the age of seventy-eight years, his mother living to be seventy-four years old. While on this visit to his native land, the Austrian government gave him notice to enlist in the army, or leave the country, and in three days time, he was on his way to America, returning to Santa Cruz; however, he only remained there for six months, when he removed to San Jose, and entered the employ of the Overland Restaurant as night manager, and was thus employed for three years. Desiring to establish his own business, he removed to San Francisco, where he opened a restaurant on East Street opposite the Howard Street wharf, which he conducted for a year and a half with marked success.

The marriage of Mr. Zaro on December 25, 1895, united him with Miss Mary Cusanovich, a native daughter of California born April 2, 1873, at Sutter Creek, Amador County, the daughter of John and Clementine (Lukinovich) Cusanovich, who came to America in 1845, later removing to California in 1849. The father worked in the placer mines of Amador County and died aged sixty- five; the mother resides in San Francisco; her early ancestors were prominent seafaring men and successful commission merchants. Mrs. Zaro was educated in the schools of Sutter Creek, and was especially interested in the study of the Bible, becoming very proficient as a teacher, and was teaching in the Sunday School at the age of eighteen, and continued to follow this line of work until her marriage to Mr. Zaro. They are the parents of five children; Peter died at the age of twenty-two, a fine young man of excellent characteristics; Madeline is employed by the Ford garage as cashier; Maria, deceased; John, a student of the Lincoln school and Louis, also a student.

In 1893, Mr. Zaro purchased the Overland Grill, the oldest establishment of its kind in San Jose. He was one of three partners, and the business was operated successfully until 1909, when the company suffered severe reverses, through no fault of Mr. Zaro, but with courage and determination, he started anew, establishing a small restaurant on West Santa Clara Street, and at the end of three years he was forced to enlarge his quarter, and sold an interest in the business to Peter Bava, who is now chief chef. The business continued to grow until they were compelled to remove to still larger quarters, now known as Zaro's Grill, and is noted throughout the locality for their excellent Italian and French dinners. In 1918, Louis Dossee was taken in as partner and is the capable house manager. With an experience covering forty years in this line of work, he has, through his efficient management, helped to bring the business to a very lucrative basis.

Politically, Mr. Zaro is a stanch Democrat, who adheres strictly to the principles of this party. Fraternally, he is a member of the Eagles, Red Men, and is at present the vice-president of the Slavonian Society of San Francisco; he is a charter member of the American-Slavonian Society of San Jose, which was organized in 1894 by ten men, and which he has served for fifteen years as treasurer. In 1909, the family purchased a beautiful home at 152 Spencer avenue, where they still reside. On the 4th of July, 1917, Mr. Zaro's daughter was chosen for queen of the float entered in the parade by the American-Slavonian Society.

A self-made man, he has worked his way up from a poor boy to a position of affluence, honored and respected as an upright and reliable business man.

Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 1691


SANTA CLARA COUNTY HISTORY-The Valley of Heart's Delight