After four years of planning, Jo Marie Scaglia’s thoroughly modern café, Caffetteria, is now open in the former Bruce Smith Drugs space in The Shops at Prairie Village.

Caffetteria was visually inspired by stylish cafés and coffee bars in Italy. The menu, though, celebrates Scaglia’s own Italian dinner table growing up, where her family would gather and enjoy wholesome, comforting dishes.

Born into three generations of restaurateurs, Scaglia comes by her love of food honestly. Her family owned Mario’s restaurant in Kansas City from 1969 through the 1990s, so the restaurant business is in her blood.

She launched her first quick-casual restaurant, The Mixx, in 2005 just south of the Country Club Plaza. Since then, she has opened two more locations in the Power & Light District and in Leawood, Kansas.

Her latest restaurant, which actually started out as a location of The Mixx, made the transition to Caffetteria when Scaglia realized she had the perfect amount of space to finally execute a new vision.

“I’ve had this concept in my head for years – probably ever since my childhood, when my mom would feed family, friends and neighbors every Sunday at a communal table where everyone could taste the love she wove into her delicious multi-course meals. That’s Caffetteria to me,” she says.

The menu includes delicious artisanal plates featuring a selection of meats and sides, like house roasted rotisserie chicken, sandwiches, soups and salads as well as made-to-order pizza from a new 4,800-pound custom Marra Forni pizza oven.

Expect to find fresh vegan and vegetarian salads, bowls, sandwiches and sides on the menu along with fresh protein options like the Polynesian poke bowl with seared tuna, chilled rice noodles, marinated seaweed, sliced avocado, pickled ginger, spinach, julienned carrots and cucumbers with black sesame seeds and chopped peanuts, served with a housemade lemongrass vinaigrette and Thai peanut sauce.

The beverage selection features a soda fountain serving Stubborn brand soft drinks made with natural ingredients like pure sugar and stevia in flavors such as lemon-berry-açai, orange-hibiscus and classic root beer. Coffee drinks, tea, wine and local kombucha are also on tap, as well as draft and bottled beers.

Caffetteria and The Mixx are both similar in that they both offer quick-serve, from-scratch food, but Caffetteria was designed by Scaglia to be a gathering place where people could linger and enjoy “slow food fast.”

The stylish 4,600-square-foot space seats 100 diners inside, with room for more on the patio. A comfortable lounge area offers soft seating; the space also includes a private dining room for up to 12 people, a coffee and pastry counter, an open kitchen with bar seating around it, tables featuring gift items for a little retail therapy and a refrigerated case with grab-and-go meal options.

“The main thing I want people to feel at Caffetteria is welcomed,” Scaglia says.

Caffetteria is open Monday through Saturday from 7am to 9pm and Sunday from 7am to 5pm.

Caffetteria, 25 On The Mall in The Shops of Prairie Village, Prairie Village, Kansas, 816.756.2300, caffetteriamoderncafe.com