Chow Down at Ciao! Bella in Downtown Lee's Summit

By Sharon H. Fitzgerald on May 4, 2011 at 8:27 pm EST


Dan Phelps, who owns Ciao! Bella Ristorante along with his wife, Lynn, says they “had never even considered the possibility” of a downtown Lee’s Summit eatery. The couple already owned Perazelli’s Italian Ristorante in nearby Greenwood and were doing just fine, thank you.

Then Phelps walked into Cameron’s Home Furnishings on Main Street in the hunt for bar stools for Perazelli’s, and the owner asked when the couple planned to open a Lee’s Summit restaurant downtown. “Never,” was his reply. “Then, a week later, the guy who owned the building we’re in called me,” Phelps says.

The Main Street building, which had once been home to another bistro, had been renovated. So Phelps and son Eric Brooks took a look. “Once I saw it, I thought, ‘Wow! I could do a good restaurant here,’” he recalls.

Ciao! Bella opened on Nov. 13, 2007, featuring the same type of southern Italian cuisine that had made Perazelli’s a success.

Brooks, a culinary school graduate, is head chef. “We try to do all the standards, and then a few other things along with it,” Phelps says of the menu.

Ciao! Bella features classic entrees such as lasagna and fettuccine Alfredo and Old World favorites like Tuscan eggplant and what’s called Mange Mange, a heaping bowl of pasta topped with big meatballs, sausage links and meat sauce. Save room for the dessert sampler platter, a tasty trio of crème brulee, tiramisu and a cannoli. The wine list features several selections from Italian vineyards.

The Phelpses are right at home with their newest business venture’s downtown address. “We used to own a house two blocks from Ciao! Bella and lived there about 15 years in an old, two-story Victorian,” Phelps says. The empty-nesters now live in Pleasant Hill in a smaller home on 5 acres.

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