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ABC Action News WFTS
Zephyrhills couple start hot sauce company
By Robert Boyd,
A Zephyrhills couple is heating up the local restaurant scene with their very own hot sauce.
Matthew and Jillian Zambrana never go out to eat without a bottle of their homemade sauce.
“We would make batches of our sauces for ourselves, take them out to wing restaurants and just get naked wings, pour our sauce on and we were happy,” said Matthew.
Restaurants started getting curious.
“A local restaurant, a little bar and grill, took a little interest and were like, ‘what do you think about doing the sauces for us?’ And we were like, ‘I don’t know lets look into it,’” said Matthew. “Next thing you know we had another restaurant going, ‘hey I want you to make me a mango habanero that’s not like anybody else’s,’ so that’s how our mango habanero came about.”
In 2020 the Zambranas officially made Rhino Smash a family business.
“Because of my size and build I’m like a rhino in a china shop and I’m always breaking things, if it can be broken or shouldn’t be broken give it to me and I’ll probably break it,” said Matthew.
The couple is also smashing sales projections. This year they anticipate selling 12,000 bottles. They are now up to 10 hot sauces, a barbecue sauce and a seasoning.
“I really think my favorite aspect of it is getting to play with new flavors,” said Matthew.
The majority of these bottles are sold to a handful of small, family-owned, independent businesses just like them, right in Pasco County, like Commandough’s.
“We’ve been dreaming of getting onto their menu and we finally made that happen,” said Jillian.
Commandough’s owner Michael Weaver said the partnership just feels like family.
“We’ve seen them devour wings over the years so we knew that hot sauce was their game,” said Weaver. “Small business is a tough thing to do so when a community can work together and help each other out.”
“Everyone in this area is like us, where they just want to see everyone in this area succeed and they want to support everyone who is small and local,” said Matthew.