About Jovito’s (by Alex Fiorella):
My family has been in the restaurant business for a long time with my Grandparents Russ & Flora Fiorella starting Smokestack BBQ in 1957. My aunts Mary, Diane, and Carol Fiorella ran the businesses after Russ along with my dad, Russell. My mother, Leasa Caron, also worked in the restaurant business for a number of years. Needless to say, we have been part of the KC restaurant community for some time now! Back in 2015, Leasa bought Jovito‘s from Mary Hart. Mary and her brother Joe Scaglia ran Jovito‘s in South KC, and their brother Mario owned Mario’s in Westport. My family knew the Scaglias growing up and are family friends. Long story short, we loved the food and desserts, Mary wanted to retire, and we decided to keep the business and Meatball Grinders alive! When the opportunity arose for us to move the business to Waldo, we couldn’t turn it down!
Why did you choose Waldo for your business?
Waldo is home for us. Our family grew up in the Waldo neighborhood and have lived here for over 20 years. My mom owned and operated Bookworm Bookstore on Wornall when I was a baby and we used to get breakfast at our neighbors, Georgie Porgies. My siblings and I went to St. Elizabeth’s Grade School where my mom also taught first grade. We’ve just always been Waldo people! We were more than excited to bring a family business to the community and offer our Italian comfort food to the area we call ‘home’. I used to frequent One More Cup when I was studying at UMKC for my law degree and loved the store. We learned the space was available and thought it would be a perfect fit. Turns out it is!
What can customers do to support Jovito’s right now?
Right now it is a difficult and uneasy time for small businesses, especially restaurants. Luckily, we are “carryout professionals” because our platforms (doordash, grubhub, ubereats, etc.) were all in place before the pandemic hit and a good portion of our business has traditionally been to-go orders. That said, keep coming by and trying out our food! If you like the food, then spread the good word the old fashioned way or online. Purchasing gift cards or a Jovito‘s t-shirt are always a good option as well! Times are tough right now for so many small businesses so my wife and I try to order one big meal from one of our favorite local places each week. Some of those in Waldo are Taj Mahal, Cosmo Burger, McClains, Crow’s Coffee and Waldo Pizza to name a few.
Beyond your own, what’s your favorite Waldo business & why?
Wow! What a question! Waldo Pizza will always have a special place in my heart – I used to work there, the pizza is delicious and Phil B is just a great guy. Also have lots of good memories of great times at Bobby Bakers and The Happy Place (Tommy Farrahs).
What is your favorite thing about the Waldo community?The stewardship, compassion, and loyalty. People care about one another and really take pride in being part of the community. Neighbors look out for one another, welcome new people and businesses, and genuinely want to see their community improve and prosper. Look at the Waldo Heights fire and all the support and donations following the tragedy. Our business neighbors Irezumi and Waldo Barbery have been wonderful and supportive since we first started from ordering to sending people our way. Most importantly, Waldonians are real people that work hard, don’t put up with bullshit, and take action when the time calls. In a sense, Waldo keeps it real!
We are so grateful and happy to be part of this community and able to share our food here. It is a crazy time for so many people and a lot of negativity going around the world. We feel like we are back home and in a great place, not just physically, but mentally as well. Please keep supporting local/small businesses across the city as much as possible. We’re excited to spruce up our back patio/outdoor seating this Spring! Thanks, Waldo!!!
Jovitos Italian Café & Deli
7408 Wornall Rd., Kansas City, MO 64114