A third generation is now guiding one of Kansas City oldest [37 years] and best loved Italian kitchens in Kansas City, Anthony's Restaurant at 7th and Grand. This family venue had humble beginnings when it was a one room soup kitchen established in the 1950's by the Spino grandparents in the space that is now a comfortable private dining room for 40 guests. Butch & Theresa Spino converted that space and the building right next door on the corner into the Anthony's Restaurant opening in 1978.
After 30+ years of serving menu items that are combinations of their Sicilian heritage as well as their personal culinary creativity, Butch and Theresa have gradually been turning over the management of their food dynasty to sons Anthony [the III] and Vito and a close family friend, Michael Anthony Todd. Vito and Michael handle the day to day operations [Vito mixes the secret blend of spices into the sauce every day ] while Anthony III still oversees the marketing of the restaurant from New York City where he lives with his new bride who he met at the restaurant when she was there celebrating a family event with her parents, long time patrons of Anthony's.
Those kinds of romantic connections and family involvement are the rule rather than the exception at Anthony's when staff and guests are all treated as part of the Spino clan. "It's always been about family," says Vito; "we were founded by hard-working people who loved family and that's the vibe we strive to create." Antonio Davis, who is now head chef, started as a dishwasher 16 years ago when he was in High School, and moved up to helping prepare meals and learning the recipes from Butch and Theresa until he inherited the role as they transitioned into retirement. He has always loved being part of a place where as he says, "the emphasis is on great food and everyone is treated like family."
The great food & drink and friendly service is why so many welcomed guests return over and over for birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine's Day and more. Chef Antonio's favorite dish is the Fettucine Putanesca. Vito says it's hard to beat his Mom's signature lasagna recipe with a delicate and light sauce that [while meatless] is the most popular dish on the menu. Of course, you can always add house made meatballs or locally produced sausage; but you will want to save room for desserts, like the traditional tiramisu.
If you ask Michael Todd about his favorite food item at Anthony's and he'll tell you that he likes to brag about the Fried Chicken special on Sunday nights. He is so proud of their preparation of this not-so-Italian offering and also confident in its quality that he challenges guests to try a piece before they order. "It's worth the trip across town just for the Sunday Fried Chicken," he crows; "and we sell out nearly every Sunday!"
Downtown business diners have been making Anthony's a steady destination for a power lunch for decades but recently an experiment with a special lunch promotion [2 eat for $15] has been packing the house. It's hard to beat that price when you get to choose from their most popular, full-portioned lunch entrees served with the same quick and always family friendly service. Of course, Anthony's offers catering service and handles private events with the same comfortable style and aim-to-please attitude for parties large or small. Family owned, family run, family styled - Anthony's is sure to be a fixture in KC for a long time to come.
Makes 11 servings
1 pound bulk Italian sausage
1 diced onion
2 diced carrots
2 diced celery stalks
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 zucchini, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
2 diced potatoes
1/4 pound fresh green beans, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 head cabbage, chopped
6 cups chicken broth
2 cans diced tomato (14 1/2 ounces each)
1/4 cup chopped fresh sweet basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can 15 oz. chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup small pasta shells, cooked
3 tablespoons fresh parsley
1/3 cup grated cheese
Cooking time is 1 1/4 hours; prep time including cooking is about 1 1/2 hours.
In a soup kettle, cook sausage and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Drain. Stir in the carrots, celery, and garlic; cook for three minutes. Add zucchini and green beans; cook two minutes longer.
Stir in broth, potatoes, cabbage, basil, oregano, tomatoes and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.
Return to a boil. Stir in the chickpeas, pasta and parsley. Cook for 4-7 minutes. Serve wi