Dominic’s Casual Italian
In case you didn’t know, you can find my writing in Kansas City’s premier lifestyle magazine for the Northland. Here’s an article on one of my favorite easy-dining restaurants straight from the latest edition of North Magazine.
You know you’ve discovered a great restaurant when you find yourself in the neighborhood and automatically try to find an excuse to stop in for a bite. Or you rack your brain for a reason you should grab a to-go order for someone, anyone you might be seeing later that day. I will admit, I have a few of those places in Kansas City. Most recently, I find myself inventing reasons to keep eating at Dominic’s Casual Italian.
It can be easy to miss in the recently revived development now called Burlington Creek. But it’s a place you want on your radar if you enjoy great food in a no-nonsense style.
I will admit, I’ve become almost addicted to Dominic’s chicken spiedini. I happened upon it one day when I was starving for some lunch and turned into the old Tuilleries complex thinking I would grab a sandwich or hit a fast food joint. Instead, I saw the green and red sign on the corner and decided to give it a try. Perhaps a “fast Italian” restaurant, as the sign indicated, didn’t set my expectations very high. But after my first bite of their luscious chicken in that bright and complex sauce, I was completely blown away.
The marinara was incredibly fresh and fabulous. I remember inspecting it closely to see what kind of “secret ingredient” could make this red sauce so fantastic. But as you might expect, it was just the basics – but basics done right. Chunks of bright tomato, slivers of basil, and tiny pieces of minced garlic danced around my pasta shells. The meaty chunks of generously breaded and well seasoned chicken on top were almost too much for one sitting. But don’t you dare think I didn’t finish every last drop! I took pictures, I tweeted, I event went back to the office and told my coworkers I had found an amazing new place for lunch.
Since then, I can’t count the number of times I’ve dropped in or driven through for more amazing Italian. I soon discovered their salads were top-notch too. Fresh iceberg lettuce topped with a few olives, a big helping of creamy cheese, pepperoni slices and finished with a knock-out Italian dressing, it was the perfect pairing for my spiedini obsession. Better yet, the combo made for enough food that I could make two meals out of it.
Dominic’s roots go back a couple decades in the Northland. The Cuccia family started with pizza and in 1992 opened the first Dominic’s on North Oak where the McDonald’s now stands near Smokehouse BBQ. It closed in 2001, but patrons kept asking the family for more of their great food. Eight years ago, Dominic’s Fast Italian opened as a drive-thru only restaurant sharing space with a car wash. But that didn’t completely satisfy their fans. In response to customers asking for a sit-down location, the family opened the Burlington Creek location in March.
Known as Dominic’s Casual Italian, this place serves up stellar food quickly in stylish and modern surroundings. The menu is large, so you might hope for a at least a small line on your first visit so you can have time to decide. Orders are taken at the counter and your food meets you at your table almost immediately after filing up your drink and settling in.
Pastas come out piping hot, enveloped in aromas of garlic and herbs. The lasagna topped with meat sauce was a literal “tall order” – 7 layers to be exact – piled high with ricotta, noodles, herbs and smothered in a thick, robust beefy tomato sauce. The bold spice of the sauce was balanced nicely with a lingering sweetness and served as a lovely compliment to the creamy lasagna.
The Chicken Marsala is potentially rivaling my beloved spiedini as my favorite Dominic’s dish. The lightly breaded chicken is topped with melted cheese and served in an amazing wine sauce finished with mushrooms. The delicious chicken is moist and juicy with a wonderful light crunch.
The Cuccias will tell you their focus in on the sauces. And I will tell you the sauces are really great! Taken from family recipes, I’m hopeful that one day they’ll start bottling these treasures so I can use them at home. What I do know, is that the family plans to open more Dominic’s locations.
Whether it’s the 24-hour marinated chicken spiedini, the sweet rich creaminess of their alfredo, or the hearty meat sauce, fall is the perfect time to stop in, or just drive through, and get a satisfying meal without any fuss.