The History of Jasper's Italian Restaurant

The Tradition

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.

Jasper Sr

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.

Mirabile Family

On October 8, 1998, the family and all of Kansas City was deeply saddened by the death of our founder and the city's eminent restaurateur and host, Jasper, Sr. Up until a week before his passing, Jasper worked diligently with his sons to bring Kansas City back its treasured restaurant. Today, the Mirabile Family begins a new era and brings a new dimension to Italian dining in Kansas City. We hope you enjoy the true Italian tradition of our fine food and personal impeccable service.

Jasper Kansas City

The Facility

The restaurant was designed by Matthew Connolly, A.I.A. of MDC Architecture. He incorporated many items from the old restaurant on 75th Street including carpet, mirrors, 80 year-old doors, and other dining room fixtures for the contemporary rustic Italian decor. A patio offers a view of the Indian Creek and seats 50. The dining room features a small private dining room that seats 8-10 and includes all of the awards, family pictures, and articles from the former Jasper's. We have another private dinning room in the wine cellar that seats 16-24 guests. Jasper Sr. helped design the restaurant and menu before his death. Many of his signature items are on the menu. The dress is casual.

Then & Now

The history of Jasper's Restaurant at 1201 W. 103rd Street in Kansas City, Missouri is an Horatio Alger story, an American saga of success attained through hard work and steadfast devotion to excellence. Today, enjoying a premier status among American dining establishments. Jasper's was a simple enough neighborhood place at the time of its founding sixty-two years ago. But even then, an uncompromising standard of food quality and service set Jasper's apart from its contemporaries. The progress from simple steak and pasta meals to exotic meat, fowl, and seafood specialties with distinctive, subtle sauces has been a dramatic one. But it has also been a logical development, given the restless perfectionism of the restaurant's founder, Jasper J. Mirabile.

In the earlier years, Jasper pursued his quest for culinary excellence through restaurant trade journals. As his business grew, he started to travel to the places, both here and abroad, where the finest food is served. Today, his sons and grandson might fly to either coast or to Europe for a single meal at a restaurant where he has heard of an outstanding dish being served. Recognition has been gratifying on a nationwide basis. In addition to its position as "Kansas City's Most Prized Restaurant" in terms of prestigious awards, Jasper's has been praised by national media and celebrated personages. In reporting the 1976 Republican Convention in Kansas City, TIME MAGAZINE spoke of Jasper's as one of the two best restaurants in the city. America 's foremost food critic, Craig Clairborn, has included a Jasper's recipe in his book on great veal dishes. A bevy of famous celebrities such as Bob Hope, Walter Cronkite, Hank Stram, Milton Berle Anthony Quinn and Mitzi Gaynor, and many others have all dined at Jasper's and have praised its service.The Jasper's tradition promises to be a continuing one.


Jasper Jr.

The restaurant's operation, which is overseen by Jasper's two sons, Leonard and Jasper Jr. Leonard is an alumnus of the School of Restaurant Management at the University of Denver. Jasper Jr. has attended the counterpart of that school at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. A thorough going family enterprise in spite of its cosmopolitan dining atmosphere, Jasper 's makes all its own pastas and desserts. The latter are generally the work of Jasper's wife, Josephine. Every Sunday night, the family tests new recipes in the spacious kitchen at the Mirabile Home, where three generations of Mirabile's and an assortment of friends provide a rigorous standard of judgement. "If a dish can pass this test", says Jasper Jr., "it's good enough for our customers.".