For those who had the distinct pleasure of wandering into the old Scimeca’s Grocery Store at Independence & The Paseo during its over 40-year history at that location, they know that some of the sweetest smells and best imported Italian deli salads and sausages were to be had in the imported section located at the back of the store. It was almost like walking into a little Brooklyn Italian deli and market, only it was in the old Northeast neighborhood, once the heart of Kansas City’s Italian American community.
After an almost 25-year hiatus, that Little Italy experience has been recreated, thanks to Toni Scimeca Bonadonna, in a quaint Tudor storefront at 16th & Swift in North Kansas City. Bonadonna is the fourth generation of the Scimeca family to work in the food industry and she’s tickled pink to be part of the experience.
“I loved working in the old store and I’ve always been a foodie so this is a great fit for the family, and we’re all about family,” Bonadonna said.
The family grocery history goes back almost 100 years to 1935 when Bonadonna’s great grandfather Philipo Scimeca opened a small neighborhood market in the city’s Northeast neighborhood. The neighborhood grocery operation thrived for decades and developed a strong reputation throughout the region as the place to go for the best in Italian grocery items, such as imported olive oils and vinegars, but also homemade olive and pasta salads.
As a tribute to the old family business on The Avenue, the new online market and deli has adopted the old neon sign that used to hang outside as its logo.
“Everyone recognizes the old sign, my whole thing is that this building was so unique and so old school, it looks so ethnic, it really has a lot of character,” Bonadonna noted, describing the uniqueness of the new location’s brick exterior.
Step inside, however, and you’re transported to the old neighborhood, complete with all the rich aromas of the delicatessens of the old world. Most of the deli and prepared items are locally sourced, using such vendors as Roma Bakery, C&C Produce, and of course, the family-owned sausage company located near 8th & The Paseo.
“We have a lot of family here helping out when they can,” Bonadonna said. “That’s one thing we’ve always focused on here is treating everyone like family. Our motto is ‘where customers become friends and friends become family.’”
One big difference between the old store and the new online deli and retail market is that customers can not only order lunch or dinner online, but also order any one of the 31 items on the Scimeca’s website, including the new private label oils and jellies, and have it shipped nationwide.
“There’s a strong niche for online shopping, especially now during these COVID times and we’re offering a secure, easy to use ordering site where you can either order lunch or dinner or any of our specialty items,” Bonadonna said.
Scimeca’s Retail Market and Deli is located at 1611 Swift in North Kansas City and is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Secure online ordering for the deli or the catalog is available at www.scimecasonline.com.