When You’re Here, You’re Family
For our third and final venture, I was strongly encouraged to try this Italian restaurant in the Riverside district called Garozzo’s. Not only was it authentically native to Kansas City, but it also had created a signature dish called Chicken Spiedini that has now been copied by several other Italian restaurants within Kansas City. We didn’t need any more convincing. We decided to invite my brother Matthew along for the experience. Matthew was already familiar with Kansas City and had lived in the suburb of Grandview for the past 5 years or so, but he had surprisingly never been to Garozzo’s and was excited to try it out with us for the first time. I’ve always bought into Olive Garden’s idea that gathering around a dinner table to enjoy Italian food automatically makes you a family. Inviting someone from my actual family seemed fitting.
Chad and I had skipped lunch in anticipation for tonight’s feast, and our hunger intensified the thrill we felt about this culmination of our experience with dating Kansas City. We all decided to order the Chicken Spiedini, of course. If a restaurant creates a famous unique dish, it is an unspoken rule that you have to try it on your first visit to that restaurant. Amazingly enough there were about five or six different ways to order and enjoy Chicken Spiedini. I took some notes, but mostly we talked a lot and laughed even more. Transitioning from local French restaurants to a local Italian restaurant brought a vast change in atmosphere. People were loud and lively and drinking their fair share of various wines! Our waitress brought refill after refill of bread and butter and this amazing shrimp scampi dipping sauce. At Garozzo’s there was no proper or polite French etiquette to be observed, but it was still classy and refined, in its own way. And this too, we loved. We were definitely going to be coming back here.
Even though this was only the 3rd restaurant we would be enjoying before I sat down to write this paper about our experiences, we already felt like we had gotten a real sense of our new home. The community of Kansas City – being directly in the middle of the country – was used to warmly welcoming in people from various backgrounds and cultures. For someone like me – who has lived in eight different states and traveled to an even larger number of different cities – finding a place we enjoyed and where we felt we belonged was immensely refreshing.
All my travels – however forced upon me as a child they were – have all been leading up to this time in my life. Kansas City seems to be the consummation of all my varied experiences, roaming across the country with an inconsistent upbringing. After all the different places I’ve lived, I don’t think I would have been content to put down roots in a city with only one type of people and culture. The “local flavor” of Kansas City is not restricted to simply one flavor – it is more a Baskin Robbins of the country. You never know where life will take you. I have come to realize that exploring your new place and becoming familiar with it will help you feel more and more at home. Moving to a new place is sometimes scary, but in this instance I had been preparing to call Kansas City my permanent home all my life.
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