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Wichita’s Viola’s Pantry adding market, espresso bar, eatery


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Among the items that will be served at the new Viola’s Pantry eatery: a prosciutto sandwich on focaccia.

Kristina Grappo opened her homemade pasta business Viola’s Pantry in a 500-square-foot space at Cleveland Corner, 156 N. Cleveland, in November, and at the time, she said she hoped to eventually add an Italian market to her business.

Seven months later, she’s about to do just that, and thanks to ongoing requests from her customers, she’s going to do one better.

Grappo has just taken over a second 500-square-foot space that adjoins her current shop, and soon, she plans to turn it into an specialty store selling imported Italian goods like olive oil, sauces, gluten-free and vegan pastas, antipasto, risotto, polenta and Italian wines.

But she’ll also use the space to add an espresso bar and an eatery offering “everyday Italian” fare for breakfast and lunch.

Grappo hopes to have the addition ready to open by the first week of July.

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Viola’s Pantry opened in November at Cleveland Corner. Courtesy photo

The space she’s taking over is not the one just vacated by Grow, the trendy plant shop that owner Heather Giesen will open in a new spot (with a bar) at 320 S. Market later this month. Grappo instead is taking over a section of Cleveland Corner owner Janelle King’s The Workroom that previously housed jarred food items and other products.

The eatery and market will occupy the same space, and Grappo said she thinks she has room for two four-foot tables inside that would seat about 10 people total. She also plans to utilize the large outdoor patio that was used by Viola Pantry’s previous occupant, King’s Birney’s Snack Shop. It has room for about 10 tables.

“I just love that patio,” Grappo said. “I feel like it’s criminal not to have something to activate that patio space.”

The eatery’s menu will feature four items at breakfast and four at lunch.

The breakfast menu will include maritozzi buns, which are brioche buns split and filled with things like Nutella and fresh fruit. It’ll also offer gluten-free lemon almond ricotta pancakes, a mixed green salad with pancetta and egg, and toast made with homemade focaccia bread.

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Kristina Grappo is adding a specialty Italian market plus an eatery and espresso bar onto her Viola’s Pantry at 156 N. Cleveland. Courtesy photo

At lunch, Grappo will serve a meatball sandwich on a maritozzi bun, a marinated grilled veggie sandwich, a prosciutto sandwich on focaccia, and tomato bisque.

The espresso bar will offer a full range of espresso-based coffee drinks, and once her liquor license is shored up, Grappo will allow diners to buy bottles of wine in the market and enjoy them with their meals. She’ll also have beer available.

Grappo grew up in an Italian family, and she started Viola’s Pantry in 2020, after the COVID-19 pandemic stunted her marketing consulting business. She started selling her pasta at the Old Town Farm & Art Market then took over the Birney’s Snack Shop space, where she’s been selling her fresh-made pasta for people to take home and cook. She’s also occasionally sold prepared food items.

Grappo, who will offer cooking classes at Viola’s Pantry, said her growing customer base was constantly asking her if she’d ever add an eatery to her space. She finally decided she was ready.

“There are just not a whole lot of spots to get breakfast or lunch in that part of downtown,” she said.

Stay tuned for an opening date for the Viola’s Pantry addition.

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Viola’s Pantry is expanding at Cleveland Corner and adding a specialty market, eatery and espresso bar. Courtesy photo

Denise Neil has covered restaurants and entertainment since 1997. Her Dining with Denise Facebook page is the go-to place for diners to get information about local restaurants. She’s a regular judge at local food competitions and speaks to groups all over Wichita about dining.





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