Cooking up Italian staples and baking pizza has been a Walker family tradition since 1969, first at a pizza franchise and now at their own Old Shawnee Pizza and Italian Kitchen. They use the skills they've perfected over the last 40 years to make everything from their Alfredo-topped ravioli stuffed with three types of seafood to their Midwest-style pizzas on homemade dough.
They first top their inventive pizzas with sauces such as the classic red, salsa, spicy peanut, or garlic olive oil. From there, they use their multitude of unique toppings to create most any pie their customers can dream up, barring ones that bear an uncanny resemblance to Burt Reynolds. They also cook up specialty pizzas such as the Caribbean Jerk, made with jerk sauce, chicken, onions, pineapple, and roasted red peppers.
Before the owners of Pie Zano’s Pizzeria opened their restaurant, they knew that their toughest critics would be their own relatives. That’s because they planned for their menu to include the time-tested recipes that were passed down for generations. After receiving high marks in a family taste test, they flung open the doors of the neighborhood eatery to share their creations with the community. For an added touch of freshness, their specialty pizzas, meatball subs, and pastas boast ingredients culled from local sources. The family-owned establishment also shows its dedication to the community by supporting area youth sports programs.
As the head chefs and owners of The Boot, Aaron Confessori and Richard Wiles draw on Old World inspiration to craft a menu of simple, fresh Italian fare. Though their hand-made meatballs and house-made pastas evoke the rich flavors of the Tuscan countryside, they strive to gather their ingredients from sources closer to home. Kansas City staple Krizman’s House of Sausage, for example, supplies the restaurant’s italian sausage. If guests can pry their attention away from the seared skirt steaks or Prince Edward Island mussels on their plates, they will notice a dining room lined with exposed brick walls and capped with tin ceiling tiles. Long rows of wood-topped tables add a touch of the rustic to an otherwise contemporary setting, which Aaron and Richard styled after their favorite Italian dining spots. Hanging overhead lights cast a soft glow on the bar, whose tenders shake handcrafted cocktails, pour microbrews, and stage gladiatorial bouts with olive spears.
Family is important at Cascone's Restaurant, a fact illustrated by the portraits adorning their lobby walls and the relatives working side by side in the kitchen and dining room since the first eatery opened four generations ago in 1954. Chef Victor Cascone draws from the family's Sicilian heritage to plate traditional pasta and meat dishes. He also draws inspiration from family members young and old to put a fresh spin on time-tested dishes, as evidenced by nachos made from pasta. That sense of camaraderie spreads to the restaurant's spacious banquet facilities, making it suitable venues for families gathering for birthday parties, rehearsal dinners, and spaghetti-slurping contests.