Nuevo Modern Mexican Chef-Owner Zack Hirt has Passed Away

The local culinary community lost another member way too soon and tragically. Zack Hirt, chef and owner of Nuevo Modern Mexican, passed away on Friday at the age of 43. Obviously, his loss is a shock to family, friends and colleagues.

Hirt, who worked at notable Akron spots like Mustard Seed Market, Piatto and Crave, opened the popular Nuevo Modern Mexican in 2014 with his wife and business partner Lisa. Two years later, the couple was tapped by local developers to open the shimmering new lakefront restaurant in downtown Cleveland, which was unveiled in 2016.  The Akron location was shuttered earlier this year.

Thoughts and sentiments [sic] have been flooding social media.

"We begin to write this message with a very, very heavy heart. There is truly no good way to put this into words. Last Friday, our Executive Chef and owner, Zack Hirt passed away. His passion for food was second only to his character and his kindness towards all, especially the Nuevo family. Zack was a son, brother, twin, friend, mentor and one of the greatest individuals one could ever meet. Our thoughts and prayers to the Hirt family and everyone grieving at this time." — management at Nuevo

"Zack, you will forever be missed—- you will never be forgotten."It’s hard to put in to words the hole in our hearts that everyone in akron feels. I had the pleasure of working with Zack on many occasions. His smile would light the room. He was always willing to help anyone out! Such a sincere guy. He always strived to make akron a better place and just by him being here it was!!! You will never be forgotten Chef!! My heart, thoughta and prayers go out to his loved ones and all the lives he touched. Do your self a favor guys and hug your loved ones tight because you never know when it’s the last time. Rest easy Chef!!" — chef Dick Kanatzar

"I am absolutely devastated to hear of your passing Zack Hirt. When we met you were still young & dreaming big of what your future would be..and it turned out to be NuevoCleveland & Akron. You were always so, so special & the world truly lost a genuinely good person. The culinary world has lost another talented man, a master of your craft... & those of us lucky enough to have known you, lost a great friend. The legacy you leave behind is to be kind, always...& never drink cheap tequila. You'll always be my Zackariah. R.I.P. ❤" — Kimberly Benyo

A GoFundMe memorial page for the family has already far exceeded its goal of $8,000.

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About The Author

Douglas Trattner

For 20 years, Douglas Trattner has worked as a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. His work on Michael Symon's "Carnivore," "5 in 5" and “Fix it With Food” have earned him three New York Times Best-Selling Author honors, while his longstanding role as Scene dining editor garnered the award of “Best...
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