Hearne: The Worst Italian Restaurant in KC/LA Area Closes

Screen Shot 2014-03-22 at 9.26.56 AMHey, it was good enough for former KU athletic director Lew Perkins

However when my wife and I sampled the Italian restaurant Intorno in Lawrence shortly after it opened a year and a half ago, it was beyond bad.

It sucked.

Unbeknownst to be until right before we got up to leave, Sweet Lew and his fam were in the booth directly behind us. And they gave Intorno multiple thumbs up. You know what they say about there being no accounting for taste.

And while the chef had reportedly made his mark on The Hill in St. Louis – a highly regarded, historic Italian-American neighborhood known for its restaurants – Intorno didn’t come even close…not in the eyes of locals – not even in the eyes of a certain member of its management team. More on that in a minute.

The evening we ate there my foodie wife was completely non-plussed and she was the got off easy with her entree being at least mediocre.

I on the other hand ordered a shrimp pasta dish. A dish that to describe it as unremarkable would be flattering. After eating the four or five shrimp resting on a bed of congealed pasta I sampled an unsavory forkful of said pasta which proved more than enough.

lew perkins

lew perkins

Suffice it to say, I’m not going to crowd The Pitch‘s Charles Ferruzza with my dining description of the dish. Honestly, it was unworthy of describing.

After we finished our meal a woman came by the table to clear our plates and did a brief double take on my mostly uneaten plate.

“Was it icky?” she asked, an odd inquiry to say the least.

Kinda, I said politely. Why do you ask?

“Well, a number of people tonight didn’t eat theirs either,” she said.

As we left the restaurant I asked our waiter standing by the bar who the woman was that had cleared my table was.

“The owner’s wife,” he answered.

Ah, makes perfect sense.  Who better to have asked such an odd question. However that she hadn’t offered to comp the dish, throw in a dessert or buy a drink seemed unwise. All of which lessens my surprise that they finally closed.

On second thought, I need to give nice guy Ferruzza a hard time on this one. 

Not because Charles raved about Intorno in his Pitch review a year ago – he did not – rather because he missed the opportunity to save however many diners the waste of time and money eating there. He did so by damning Intorno with faint praise, when it so richly deserved more…if you get my drift.

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14 Responses to Hearne: The Worst Italian Restaurant in KC/LA Area Closes

  1. hot harley says:

    hearne….Italian food in Lawrence? come on dude…that’s like going
    to mexico to eat southern French.
    after all these years haven’t you learned that Lawrence is great
    for taco bell ….maybe some burger…but Italian.
    So as the leading restaurant commentator on kcc…let me set you
    there are many restaurants in kc as good as the hill.. Ik now…I ate
    at all the restaurants on the hill …..nice….from riggeris to riggazis
    and every other restaurant in between time wise.
    that all you can eat spaghetti in Lawrence is ketchup
    with goflballs.
    heres the lineup
    1. LUCIANS….now closed…the best Italian food ever in this city.
    appetizer plate was incredible with Italian hams/pickels/olives/
    etc. The best chicken anywhere….and a crap game going on
    most of the time if you like to throw some bones. Been closed for
    years…now garrozos downtown.
    2. cascones: was with same at the horse races. he won big. but
    this restaurant is exceptional….and the food is excellent.4
    both locations know how to do it!!!!!
    3. villa capri 80th and Metcalf….Saluda the best cosmopolitan
    pizza in the world…the supreme minus anchovices. And the
    fried chicken made strouds taste like kfc in a bucket!
    excellent…with great prices and great meatballs….oh and don’t
    forget the Italian cookies that are to die for…..those alone are
    worth the trip.
    5. JASPERS: MARCO POLO….jr. travel the world for new
    ideas and recipes. If you want togain 20 pounds without ever
    eating any food follow the guys facebook page…he makes you
    want to eat his stuff 24/7………..
    6. probably more but most havecome and gone. The rest
    believe if you take a crummy plate and load it with garlic
    it will taste better (kabiche mike?)………I’d rather eat
    at fazolis than most of the make believe resturants in kc.
    So Harley lists the best of the best. Now hearne…I should
    write a restaurant review column shouldn’t I.
    I know food and I know how its done.
    thanks for the ink
    your friend

    • admin says:

      Italian food in Lawrence?

      What Lawrence is too far inland or something? The dude spent 30 years on The Hill (in Moissouri) but he must have been washing dishes or something for 29 of them.

      • hot harley says:

        hey a lot of kc restaurant guys spent years in st. Louis…
        and look at the crap they put out compared to local
        jasper makes mike g look like aunt jemima when It comes
        to fine Italian food.
        just because this “chef” came from the hill…to where?
        lawrnece…the murder capital of the u.s….the Birkenstock
        and hooka capital of America…and opens his little
        tratoria in that god forsaken city?
        what kind of idiot does that? just cause you work somewhere
        doesn’t make you an expert.
        please hearne…you’re way off track for me!!!!!!
        what…did this “chef” get lost? thought Lawrence was
        Lawrence massachusettes. Must have been the garlic
        seeping into his brain from 30 years on the hill.
        He had to have gotten sidetracked…no way a guy with supposedely that kind of background opens in Lawrence ks!!!!!

      • the dude says:

        More than likely or they just went cheap on the ingredients.
        It happens when the kitchen goes cheap and they are on their way out all the time.

    • John Altevogt says:

      I like KFC in a bucket.

  2. CG says:

    Harley ain’t far off here. I loved Lucians as a kid and Harley how about GUITONO’s back in the day. Jaspers on 75th back in the day was excellent, the new one the boys own is rock solid, maybe a point down but damn good…Cascones, well I was never a fan, food is not seasoned enough for me, but I get it, my Dad loves it…lots of filler food..Where is Mike Garozo’s? You don’t like Mike? I’m afraid all of it was better like Villa Capri and the old Italian Gardens back in the day…none are where they once were. Hey l love Italian. Decent list Harley.

    • Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

      Took a couple of italian friends who were in town from north Jersey to Garrozzo’s. Let’s just say they were less than impressed. I really liked my seafood ravioli dish.

  3. Glenn says:

    As an Italian-American, I can say with utmost authority that HH is correct. In fact, when my famiglia visits town – Jasper’s is the first restaurant I take them to.

    Garrozzo’s is an affront to chefs and fine diners everywhere. Sad to think a lot of Midwesterners who haven’t been more than 50 miles from home think that crap is “EYETALIAN.”

    Kind of like how they think a doughnut-shaped bread is a bagel.

  4. mike t. says:

    villa capri. haven’t been there in god knows how long. can’t say anything about the food like Harley can, but…. must be doin’ something right because… they’ve been there for god knows how long. ’59? ’60?

    • CG says:

      Yep quietly one of KC’s oldest restaurants, not sure if its changed hands nor if the food is like it used to be…the original was on Wornell I think…back in the 60’s and 70’s…

  5. Things just ain’t never been the same on this scene since they closed down that Italian Gardens joint in downtown.

    • mike t. says:

      that was a good place. I worked for the dicapos for a short while when they had the place on Metcalf near 105th. bartended. never had the same vibe as the place downtown, but probably because it was left to jack and joel to run… not that they were bad managers… just different from carl.

  6. BrotherSunday says:

    Vila Capri?!!? Lol What a ishthole! Worst alfredo ever. Carmens in brookside if you want anything good. Or Pay more and hit the one out south. Harley you are either a retard or, by your list, you are an old man who loves bland flat Italian food because that is all you listed. Did you used to eat at Furrs and Waids too? lol This likely won’t get read by anybody because its so far down the scroll, but the only +1 I will give you is Jaspers. And its not Jaspers:Marco Polo it is either Jaspers *OR* Marco Polo. Marco Polo is the lunch/deli/sausage grill in the NE which is a totally different fare than Jaspers. Jaspers is good. In the fall try the AppleChelo – a collaboration between Louisburg Cider Mill and Jasper’s drink doctors behind the bar. Still shaking my head at your list. Cascones? Breakfast only at the downtown location. The one off Metcalf smells like soiled depends undergarments which brings me back to the age thing. Makes sense now.

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