In 1963, Vita and Jay Totta opened up their cozy café with a small counter, three tables, and four booths. Within three years, the couple’s following of loyal diners had overgrown their modest space, and they expanded to a larger location with more than twice the seating capacity of the original café. Another steady increase in popularity led the Tottas to create V's Italiano Ristorante as it stands today, which includes a spacious dining room, three private banquet rooms, a lounge, and an outdoor patio. When designing and building the restaurant in 1971, Jay—a professional architect—focused on creating an Old-World atmosphere where guests could enjoy everything from Sunday brunch to romantic candlelight dinners with their tax auditors. Patrons may also venture out to the restaurant's garden patio, where they'll eat by a stone waterfall and under the vines of a grape arbor originally planted by Vita's father.
Although Salvatore’s has changed hands three times, it never once strayed beyond the Garozzo family’s reach. Founded in 1991 by Mike and Alfio Garozzo, the restaurant bore the name Garozzo’s until 2003 when Alfio’s son—Salvatore “Sam” Garozzo—took over as full owner. Sam made several interior and exterior renovations, but he kept his family’s rich culinary traditions intact through a chronicle of Mad Libs and a menu of rich pastas, homemade gnocchi, and sautéed veal entrees. Sam’s vivacious personality earns the restaurant nearly as many loyal customers as the flavorful cuisine, as he makes an extra effort to check up on his customers throughout their meal.
Fun House Pizza’s cooks have been tossing craving-satisfying pizzas since 1964, catering to families with their shareable fare and friendly staff. Gooey pizzas arrive topped with Fun House Pizza’s secret sauce recipe, sprinkled with toppings that include kraut, mushrooms, and Italian or Polish sausage. The kitchen crew gets creative with their specialty pizzas, which play dress up to create pies of the taco, bacon cheeseburger, and mexican variety. The restaurants cater to kids with a slew of entertainment options, from Thomas the Tank Engine rides to game rooms with air hockey and video games to the cheerful servers who are ready and willing to eat homework assignments.
Red-and-white checkered tablecloths dress up the tables inside Zirpolo's, triggering comforting memories of the Italian joints of your youth. These classic linens welcome platefuls of pasta smothered in your choice of sauce, including pesto, alfredo, or bolognese. Chefs also churn out a number of house specialties, such as chicken marsala topped with mushrooms and seasoned cod filets paired with a lemon-garlic-parmesan sauce. Fresh bread accompanies each entree, ensuring that diners can sop up every last drop of sauce—even if they left their favorite squeegee at home.
At the family owned restaurant, you can spot head chef Alex Potts working alongside the restaurant manager, Joe Scaglia, as they nimbly slice up fresh green peppers or peek into the fiery stone deck oven to check on their pizzas. The skilled duo adhere to the classic Neapolitan style of pizza-making, baking thin-crust pies until they are crispy, chewy, and ever-so-slightly charred. They favor local produce, meats, and cheeses, asserting, "using local and seasonal ingredients is the best way we can support our local economy while also getting the best possible product." They shower their creations in both traditional and uncommon toppings and crusts, from a wheat crust to plump morsels of classic italian sausages and less orthodox brie, almonds, or potato. Like an overly complicated valedictorian speech, the selection of toppings also includes pineapple, prosciutto, bacon, soppresata, pesto, and cream cheese.
Award-Winning Pizza | Featured on Food Network |100+ Beers | Lunch Buffet | Vegan and Gluten-Free Menus
What to Drink
The eatery's nationally recognized beer selection features more than 100 bottles of imported and domestic brews. And that doesn't even include the lineup of 20 beers on tap or the vast selection of wines and cocktails.
When to Go
To get the most bang for your buck, stop in Monday–Saturday, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. for the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet. If that doesn't work, aim for a Tuesday, when guests receive a second pizza for half price.
While You're Waiting
Before making your own pizza disappear, marvel at the tricks and illusions of professional magician Eric Z. He appears every Monday night at the downtown location and every second and fourth Thursday night at the Lee's Summit location.
Vegans and folks with gluten allergies have all sorts of options at Waldo's. The restaurant offers a full gluten-free menu—including a locally made pizza crust made with rice flour—and tops its dairy-free pies with soy cheese.