When a restaurant has a memorial bench placed out front, you know there’s a story. That’s what we found at Cascone’s in Kansas City, MO while passing through what’s usually called “flyover land.”
We’d been traveling for several days, and were looking for something Italian. No particular reason; it just appealed. A search of nearby restaurants netted several chains—Olive Garden, Buca di Beppo, Brio Tuscan Grille—and a few local restaurants, with a mix of white tablecloth and casual dine atmospheres.
We settled on one that showed consistently decent reviews, and appeared to be family owned and truly “local.” We weren’t disappointed.
The bench was in memory of Jennie Cascone.
We didn’t ask for the history (too hungry to think beyond the plate), but we did find that the restaurant has been open since 1954, with four generations of Cascone’s operating what is now two restaurants—one in Kansas City’s Northland, and one in the newer Overland Park. We assume she was a much-loved mother within the family and appreciated the tribute paid.
As for the food and experience, we agreed with the best of the ratings. The red sauce, which they call “sugo,” was smooth, slightly sweet, and full of flavor. The alfredo sauce was also delicious, without the heavy, clumpy feeling so often found in a white sauce. We opted to pay for the olive oil and garlic service, listed among the appetizers and agreed it was worth the extra, although the bread and butter service was free.
To experience several things, we went for the sampler (called the Italian Flag) that included fettuccine alfredo, lasagna, and chicken parmigiana, adding a meatball and sausage to it. There is usually a small split-plate charge that nets you an extra soup or salad, and given the quantities, was a wise choice for a late-night dinner. The food was fresh, flavorful, and memorable, with plenty of sauce, nicely breaded chicken, and the nuances of homemade throughout the meal.
Service was nearly impeccable, with the courses timed out to give you the opportunity to finish one before another arrived—on warmed plates, no less. All in all, it was all we’d hoped to find in an Italian restaurant, particularly when we were a little off our usual route and ready for a little family flavor.
We’re sure Jennie would be proud.
Want to know more about ‘sugo,’ the Italian sauce found at Cascone’s? Check out our Ask the Chef article, What Is Sugo Sauce?