|
|
|
Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • Italian restaurant opens in city's southeast

    • email print
  • By Ronda O'Brien
    Special to The Examiner
    The aroma of fresh garlic welcomes guests to Zirpolo's Italian Restaurant. This family affair, located at 3010 S. Missouri 291 in the Hidden Valley Shopping Center in Independence, opened in October. Owner Sam Zirpolo checks on his customers. “I'm impressed,” says one. “I'm so full,” says his dinner companion while laughing and packing a carry-home container. Zirpolo uses fresh ingredients and family recipes to create affordable Italian fare in a family atmosphere. Prices range from $7 to $15 and the menu features heartier items for winter. “I have a couple favorites,” says Zirpolo, “Italian steak sandwich and lasagna.” Classic desserts like cannoli, tiramisu, and cheesecake are also available. In addition to dining in the warm, fragrant dining room, the restaurant offers carry-out and catering. Zirpolo always wanted to open his own place. He and his son, Jake, do most of the work. Zirpolo's wife, Nancy, offers her assistance, and daughter, Anna, who is still in high school, also helps sometimes. “Between the four of us, we're pretty much here all the time,” says Zirpolo. Opening Zirpolo's Italian Restaurant in this neighborhood was important to Zirpolo. “I live up the hill about a block away,” he says. “My wife was born and raised here. My father-in-law has been here 50 years. They all grew up within a mile of the restaurant. We thought that'd be the best place to put it.” While owning the restaurant is new, Zirpolo is no novice. “I've pretty much done everything in the food industry,” says Zirpolo about his 30 years of culinary experience. Even before attending culinary arts school at Penn Valley Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City in 1984, Zirpolo worked in bars, restaurants, grocery stores, and butcher shops. He has been a contract chef and a cooking contest winner. According to Zirpolo, over the years he provided food manufacturers and suppliers with product training and development. He performed live culinary demonstrations for specialty events and food shows across the United States. He designed menus, developed recipes, and created job descriptions, training manuals, and employee training videos. He also worked with brokers, importers, suppliers, marketers, and distributors to increase sales and profitability through creative buying, marketing of new brands, selling strategies, and brand promotional support. Zirpolo's restaurant experience includes Accurso's Italian Restaurant, Cork 'N Cleaver Restaurant, Rusty Pelican Restaurant, Bennigans, Smaks, American Italian Pasta Company, Ramada Inn Benjamin Ranch, Hyatt Regency Hotel, and Adams Mark Hotel. “I've waited on pretty much every famous person you can imagine,” says Zirpolo. “When you work in hotels you see all those people.” His list includes Presidents Ronald Reagan, Jimmie Carter, and George H.W. Bush, musicians, sports figures, and Orville Redenbacher. Now Zirpolo serves his neighborhood. The opening has gone as expected and business is good. Zirpolo says, “I saw the space and decided to go for it and see what happens.”
      • calendar