A customer walked into Scimeca’s Ristorante in Shawnee this week asking if it is new. His second question, “Are you related to Scimeca’s?”
That would be Kansas City’s deep-rooted Scimeca’s Famous Sausage Co. (circa 1935).
Mickey Scimeca, owner of the new Shawnee Crossing restaurant, is quick with the disclaimer. He has no affiliation with the Kansas City sausage company or the North Kansas City market and deli — no family ties, nothing on his menu is from that Scimeca’s. When his website is live in May he will have that disclaimer in writing. He plans to add an “M.” to his Scimeca’s name to avoid any confusion and has started answering the phone “M. Scimeca’s.”
Officials with Scimeca’s Sausage declined to comment.
That’s just one hiccup this new restaurant has encountered.
“Staffing has been the hardest thing. But we’ve had great reviews on the food,” Scimeca said.
In the week it has been open, customers have been drawn to pasta dishes such as linguine with sausage and meatballs, fettuccine Alfredo and capellini with shrimp. Scimeca’s imports its pasta from Italy.
It has a variety of pizzas — fully loaded pepperoni, shrimp and artichoke, The Smoker (with smoked salami, smoked olive tapenade, roasted red pepper, mozzarella and house-made pizza sauce), rib-eye steak and mushrooms, grilled vegetables and more.
For entrees, there’s grilled salmon, chicken rollatini and grilled rib-eyes with asparagus.
Other menu items include appetizers such as spicy Italian wings, and goat cheese dip (goat cheese and mascarpone layered with basil pesto and topped with marinara and toasted pine nuts and served with crostini), salads, sub sandwiches and cannoli.
Scimeca collaborated with his executive chef, Mike Kallenbach, on the menu.
Kallenbach had previously worked at Chicago restaurants and also had his own operation there.
Scimeca has been in the Kansas City area restaurant industry for more than 25 years — from stints at Arby’s to Plaza III the Steakhouse.
His new restaurant has a “Frank and Dino” wall with photos of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, and high above are posters from famed Italian and Italian-themed movies such as “The Godfather” and “Life Is Beautiful.” His youngest son, Sal, painted the dining room tabletops in green, white and red — colors of the Italian flag.
Scimeca’s has 25 employees and “like everyone else I need more,” he said.
“Everywhere you see, there are help wanted signs. You have to get creative,” he said. That includes offering his employees bonuses if they recommend someone and that person stays on for at least three months.
It also means shorter hours for now. He will expand dinner hours and add weekday lunch once he hires more workers. Hours are currently 4 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 4 to 10 p.m. Fridays; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays; and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays.
Scimeca’s Ristorante, at 22716 Midland Drive, is near Sombrero’s Mexican Cantina and Dairy Queen Grill & Chill, just east of Kansas 7.