Best Comeback Story

Café Italia

160 English Landing Drive, Parkville
816-584-0607 |

For nearly two decades, childhood friends Guy Tamburello and Paul Anselmo operated an Italian restaurant, Café Italia, on North Oak Trafficway. It wasn't a fancy trattoria but an unassuming, family-style dining room serving generous dinners of pasta, veal, chicken and seafood with hot bread and cold salads. The surrounding neighbors loved the place, but the area changed. Metro North Mall closed. Longtime residents moved. Tamburello and Anselmo received an offer to sell the building in 2010, and they closed shop and took different career paths. But this year, the business partners were encouraged to take over a vacant Japanese steakhouse in Parkville. Believing that Parkville was ready for their kind of Italian — rich Northern Italian dishes, hearty Sicilian meals — the two entrepreneurs opened a new Café Italia, a vast improvement on the original in every way, including an exhibition kitchenette in the dining room where miniature loaves of bread are baked, fresh pasta is prepared, and Tamburello's gelato machine seems in perpetual motion. Sometimes the second act is better.

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