In 1989 Michael Garozzo opened Garozzo’s Ristorante in the historic Columbus Park Italian neighborhood near downtown Kansas City. He now has 2 locations and a catering business which is known for Chicken Spiedini, a signature dish that he created. In 1991 he created his private label Chianti Classico after getting inspired during a visit to Italy. (You can order this by the glass or bottle for $10/$40). Garozzo was named Restauranteur of the Year in 2001 by the KC Restaurant Association and several local magazines named Garozzo’s the Best Italian Restaurant in 2021. Numerous celebrities have dined there and many are pictured in the photos that cover the walls. We visited the original location in the corner of a 3 story building. The small dark wood tables are spread throughout 3 different rooms all enjoying Frank Sinatra and that genre of music in the background. Lights are lowered but at a good mid-range. Service was helpful and extremely friendly and welcoming. The food is old school with lots of flavor. Portions are generous. I would eat there regularly if I was local.
We started by splitting the Sicilian Stuffed Artichoke which is a fresh artichoke stuffed with shrimp, prosciutto, Italian bread crumbs, garlic butter and melted provolone cheese. It is amazing. The large artichoke was really stuffed with small shrimp, bits of prosciutto and well covered with cheese and seasoned bread crumbs. Each leaf you pulled out was was a taste treat. I could have made a meal out of this one. Yum x3.
Bread comes to the table as a warm oval loaf with wrapped pads of butter. It is nicely crisped on the exterior with a chewy, doughy center. It was quite good.
With the order of an entree there are several salads you can add at a reduced rate. We tried a Caesar with Romaine lettuce and homemade Caesar dressing, parmigiano and croutons. The fresh torn Romaine leaves were well dressed with a hint of anchovy and tasty with the seasoned croutons. The house salad was made with Iceberg and Romaine lettuces with crushed artichoke hearts, red onion, pimentos and parmigiano then tossed with red wine vinegar and olive oil. It was a good mix of things in a really tasty dressing. You couldn’t go wrong with either choice.
The Spiedini Georgio is served with crushed tomatoes, basil, garlic, spinach and olive oil over angel hair pasta topped with romano cheese. Here the white chicken is rolled and grilled and that made it a tad drier than the other chicken dish. The chopped tomatoes and spinach made an excellent fresh-tasting sauce to pair with the meat and pasta. The spiedini is never frozen and also available in some local grocery stores. The marinated chicken breast is rolled in Italian breadcrumbs before being grilled. It was a fun and unique preparation but we both preferred with Vincenzo.
Chicken Vincenzo is lightly breaded, crispy and topped with fontina cheese, sautéed mushrooms, garlic and onions and finished in a spicy cognac cream reduction and served alongside linguine in olive oil and garlic. The white meat chicken stayed nicely moist and was excellent with the amazing sauce, that had a bit of spice in the background. The side pasta was generously dusted with cheese to make it good on its own but even better when eaten together with the marvelous chicken dish. I highly recommend this plate.