Joco Diversions

Lenexa’s offerings get a Sicilian touch

Updated: 2013-09-03T21:21:04Z

By SARAH GISH

The Kansas City Star

Lenexa’s culinary offerings are deliciously diverse.

You can get fresh Japanese sushi at Edokko, authentic Mediterranean food at Holy Land Cafe, and Mexican at Mi Ranchito. There are also lots of pizza options, from stone-fired gourmet pies at Spin! Neopolitan Pizza to cracker-thin-crust ’za at The Pizza Man.

In March, Sicilian pizza joined the mix when Giulio Covello opened Four Seasons Pizza & Pasta at 7820 Quivira Road. Covello, who grew up near Palermo, Italy, makes thick-crust square pizzas like the ones he ate growing up. “It’s really fluffy and crispy outside,” he says.

Four Seasons also serves thinner New York Style-pizza. The perfectly chewy hand-tossed crust is made from fresh dough and topped with everything from ricotta and spinach to slices of hot link Italian sausage and spicy salami.

“We make fresh food with good quality ingredients,” Covello says. “Nothing frozen.”

Covello works with Marino Moccia, a former cook at Lidia’s Kansas City, to make meatballs, chicken parmigiana sandwiches ($6.25), cannoli ($2.75), tiramisu ($3.25), and pasta sauces from scratch.

Four Seasons’ lasagna ($6.95) stacks luscious layers of tender pasta with creamy bechamel and meaty bolognese sauce. Covello doesn’t add ricotta because he says that’s not traditional in Sicily. The lasagna is a big hit with regular customers, Covello says, and so is the restaurant’s other signature pasta dish, spaghetti with shrimp scampi ($7.95).

But Italian fare isn’t the only thing on Four Seasons’ menu, which also features pork tenderloin sandwiches, loaded Greek salads ($5.95) topped with hot pickled peppers, and classic sub sandwiches. There are also a few unique menu items that mix Italian and American influences. Pizza Fries ($3.95) top French fries with pizza sauce and melted mozzarella cheese. The Four Seasons dessert ($4.95) is a 10-inch pizza stuffed with melty Nutella hazelnut spread and marshmallows. Chocolate sauce and confectioners’ sugar top it off.

Covello, whose family owns Original Pizza, says he has 10 years of restaurant experience. He takes pride in his recipes, strict quality control and friendly service (his employees help carryout customers deliver heavy loads to their car). Covello hopes to eventually hold cooking classes and wine tastings for Four Seasons customers.

Covello says before he can expand his business, he needs to expand his staff. Four Seasons has been busy lately, thanks in part to glowing reviews on Urbanspoon.com. As of last Friday, the restaurant had a 97 percent thumbs-up rating from 46 reviews.

Covello, who previously owned a travel agency, says hospitality is just as important as the quality of his food.

“Everybody leaves with a smile,” Covello says.

Enterprise reporter Sarah Gish writes about Johnson County restaurants every first and third week of the month. Contact her via email at sarah@inkkc.com or tweet @sarah_gish.

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