Legacy Bars and Restaurants: Jasper’s
In 1954, a small neighborhood Italian restaurant and bar was opened in Kansas City by Leonardo Mirabile and his son, Jasper. The restaurant, named Jasper’s, quickly became a popular Kansas City dining spot. The Mirabile family’s old-world recipes produced hearty and delicious dishes. From a .79 cent, three course meal, Jasper’s gradually expanded its menu and remodeled the restaurant as it evolved into one of America’s premiere locations for gourmet Italian food. Caesar Salad, Fettucine Alfredo, Scampi Livornese and a variety of authentic Northern Italian dishes marked Jasper’s introduction of fine dining to Kansas City.
In 1984, joined by his sons Leonard, and Jasper, Jr., the Mirabile’s opened Marco Polo’s Groceria, an authentic Italian grocery store, delicatessen and pizzeria just around the corner from the award-winning Jasper’s. Again in 1990, the Mirabiles introduced Marco Polo’s Trattoria, next door to their deli, thus creating a true Italian neighborhood in the midst of Kansas City. This was Kansas City’s first and only Trattoria featuring casual Italian dining. It was acclaimed as “the finest restaurant of it’s kind in Kansas City.”
As the year 1996 began, Jasper’s received two of the restaurant industry’s highest honors. That year Jasper, Sr., was inducted into the DiRONA Restaurant Hall of Fame, one of only 15 restaurateurs in all of North America to be distinguished with such rare honors. In April, Jasper Jr., was invited to cook at the James Beard House in New York, another rare honor. For the first Kansas City chef chosen to cook there, he received high acclaim and honors from NY food critics and Beard House members.
The year 1997 brought great changes to our Wornall location. Jasper and his sons decided to sell their property at 75th Street to Walgreen Drugs, thus ending 44 wonderful years at the same location. After a year of researching restaurants in Italy and America, the Mirabiles then purchased the Watts Mill Shopping Center and moved their offices to their new 103rd Street and State Line location. A new Jasper’s Restaurant and Marco Polo Italian Market was then built to begin serving Kansas City once again.