Jovito’s Italian Cafe will move to Waldo

Photo: Steve Waldman, Leasa Caron and Alex Fiorella (l-r) pose at their future site, the former One More Cup located at 7408 Wornall Rd. Photo by Jill Draper

Jovito’s moves to Waldo

By Jill Draper

 Jovito’s Italian Café chose not to renew its lease with Peters Clothiers in the small shopping strip just south of 123rd Street. Instead, the café will relocate in the former One More Cup coffee shop at 7408 Wornall Rd.

“We had a much better opportunity,” said Leasa Caron, who runs the business with her son, Alex Fiorella, and Steve Waldman.

The new space will about the same size, but will have front and back outdoor seating, more parking and the chance for foot traffic, she said. It also will be within walking distance of her home near Hale Cook Elementary.

The owners said COVID-19 played a part in their decision, but was not a driving factor. The café, which closes at 7 p.m., has always done a sizable carryout business, and orders increased when they eliminated dine-in services in March, shifting entirely to takeout and delivery. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The café will reopen in Waldo in October. Employees will spend the next two months revamping the back deck, painting, updating the kitchen and deciding where to place furniture. 

“We want to make sure the atmosphere we had transfers,” Fiorella said. With that goal in mind, they’ll be reinstalling familiar decorations, including a giant picture of Sophia Loren, Chiefs memorabilia and local photos and artwork. Some of the art was created by Fiorella’s grandmother, Margaret Caron, who taught in the Center School District, and his uncle, John Marak, an abstract artist who worked for Hallmark and now exhibits his work at a Crossroads studio.

“That was the beauty of this place. We had a lot of regular customers,” said Caron. “Familiar faces were always coming through the door.”

The menu will continue to feature popular items like the meatball grinder, lasagna and Italian steak sandwiches, along with new options such as a Caprese sandwich, a grilled chicken wrap with arugula, an eggplant parmesan panini and chicken Marsala. More specialty sodas will be offered as well as variations on their classic cannoli dessert.

Peters Clothiers hopes to attract another restaurant to the café’s old 1,500-square-foot location, according to co-owner George Arvanitakis. He also plans to market the adjacent 3,000-square-foot space when the clothing business moves into its new headquarters that are still under construction next door. A soft opening is planned for November.

Meanwhile, Jovito’s owners admit to having bittersweet feelings, but they’re excited about the move to Waldo. 

“Our customers in south Kansas City and Leawood were very much responsible for the success we’ve achieved,” Caron said. “We certainly hope they’ll make the journey a few miles north to say hi and to see the new place.”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: