Cafe Europa opens in South Plaza, Leawood boutique arrives

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Cafe Europa has moved from the Crestwood Shops to a former fire station at 4928 Main St. in Kansas City.

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Longtime Crestwood restaurant and retail store, Cafe Europa Gourmet Market & Bakery, spent six months renovating a nearby location that now offers an expanded range of customer favourites.

It opened softly Tuesday at the 5,000-square-foot former No. 32 fire station at 4928 Main St., less than a mile from Crestwood stores.

“It feels really good. Everyone was so positive on the first day, we were really blessed,” owner Ben Cascio said. “We want people to really enjoy it, to try new things.”

Cafe Europa opened in the Crestwood Shops in 2001 as Europa! Coffee. Cascio bought it in 2016.

When the pandemic started, its tiny dining room could only have accommodated six tables to comply with COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.

So he regrouped.

The cafe table and chairs have been put away. They’ve been replaced with high-end wooden shelves stocked with Italian pastas, olive oils, sodas, and other specialty items. A cooler along one wall held take-out meals and desserts.

The concept was so successful that Cascio wanted to expand it. There was no room in Crestwood so he rented the old fire hall. Planet Sub/Station 32 Pizzeria had recently operated in the building. Planet Sub has moved nearby.

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Cafe Europa has moved from the Crestwood Shops to a former fire station at 4928 Main St. in Kansas City. Rich Suggestions [email protected]

Cafe Europa’s bakery has doubled in size and is located in the center of the open space, offering pies (including Bourbon Pecan, French Coconut, Sour Cream Apple and Chess chocolate), brownies, its famous lemon cake and cupcakes, pies, cookies (oatmeal and raisin is a popular cookie order) and Italian cookies. He plans to add cannoli later.

Along the south wall are Harney & Sons tea and tea jugs, Parisi coffee (including a Cafe Europa blend) and coffee cups, olive oil and sea salt crackers, organic sourdough flatbread bites and more. It also offers more Italian pastas, sauces and vinegars, and has a cookbook table.

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Cafe Europa has expanded its specialty food offering, including Italian pastas, sauces and olive oils. Rich Suggestions [email protected]

Cascio has also doubled the size of the prepared food area. The cooler display cases along the north wall offer dishes such as fried chicken (once a Sunday night special), chicken salad with walnuts, soups, lemon cakes, pies and quiches.

His wife, Shelly, has a housewares section in a room to the north with Italian crockery, European linens and candles.

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The new homeware section at Café Europa. Rich Suggestions [email protected]

The cafe menu includes Italian wedding soup, chili, green salad (with broccoli, avocado, cucumber, edamame, quinoa, feta cheese and sunflower seeds with a lemon vinaigrette), Caesar salad and spinach quiche and feta.

It also offers hot panini sandwiches, burgers, Reubens, BLTs, tuna salad sandwiches and chicken salad sandwiches (served with fries, soup or house salad).

Cascio plans to open a Cafe Europa at Leawood’s Town Center Crossing, 4343 W. 119th St., in September.

This story was originally published July 6, 2022 10:16 a.m.

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Joyce Smith has been covering restaurant and retail news for The Star since 1989 under the Cityscape brand. She appreciates topical advice.

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