Over the years we’ve introduced you to members of the KC Originals family of restaurants, chefs, and owners, and this month we ring in the New Year profiling another 3rd generation member of the Cascone family who owns and manages one of the most successful Italian eateries in Overland Park, Johnny Cascone’s. This popular venue has been operating for almost 30 years on 91st St., just east of Metcalf, and Johnny has been in charge for the last 4 years. Like most of the Cascone youngsters, Johnny understands the business from the ground up, learning everything at the hands of his grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles. Traditions and knowledge are passed down with love and respect for the Cascone brand. Back of the house in the kitchen and out front with the public Johnny has it down cold and stands steadfastly behind the family mantra – “our family serves your family.”
This busy husband and father of three keeps a super busy schedule, often commuting back and forth 2 or 3 times daily between home in Parkville where he tries hard to be an integral part of his children’s school and athletic activities all the while staying hands-on in managing the daily operations and special events of the restaurant. In season he might sneak away for a game of golf, but his family and his restaurant are the two touchstones of his life. When he sneaks put for a restaurant meal Johnny says his favorite spot is Cafe Trio, but he also likes to explore the many KC spots that specialize in tapas & small plate style offerings.He feels a tremendous sense of responsibility to make all this work together; not just for his family but for the crew of 45 dedicated employees, many of whom have been at Johnny’s since they opened or close to that. But beyond that, Johnny says that it’s the "commitment he feels to the “regulars” – individuals and families – who rely on the restaurant to be open and providing their consistent, reliable service and down home Italian menu" that gets him out of bed every morning. And consistency is one of the things that sets Johnny Cascone's apart. They've been serving a traditional Sicilian influenced menu that the regulars have come to love and which makes this their go-to place for a great lunch or dinner as well was for holidays and celebrating family events.
Johnny brings 30 + years of experience in his family business to the table [so to speak] that includes hands-on training starting in HS at the original Cascone's in North Oak, a stint at Tommy's in Gladstone, where he was a manager, and finally working with his Dad here in Overland Park. Now, as the boss, he acknowledges that there are great challenges as well as tremendous opportunities in the changing neighborhood. Their steadiest customers are aging and it's time to reach out to younger generations, he tells us, which is exactly the plan. New housing developments, businesses, and educational programs are popping up all around them and the Johnny Cascone's team is marketing to the students and young business professionals with new kinds of dining specials and events to introduce them to what they do best, consistent food & service and a feel good atmosphere.
Johnny tells us that there are no secrets about Johhny Casone's after 30 years; but he wanted us to remind you that they have live music in the main dining room just about every Friday and Saturday night, there are special "Girls Night Out" programs one Wednesday night each month [check their website & Facebook page for details]; they have a terrific private event space with customized menus; and of course they are a great choice for celebrating holidays - so it's not too early to make your Valentine's Day reservations. And, lest we forget, they are participating again in KC Restaurant Week this month, Jan 13 -22 - always a great deal and a great charitable cause!. Johnny hopes you'll come check out his family place with your family real soon!