An East Coast-style wine bar set to open in Brookside

Vita's Place In Its Final Stages Before Opening / Photo Courtesy Of Vita's Place

Ryan and Jenny Sciara opened Underdog Wine Co., a wine shop in Brookside’s Crestwood Shops, almost a decade ago. Now, the husband-and-wife duo are dipping their toes into a new venture – an East Coast-inspired wine bar located just a few shops down from their flagship store (5514 Oak St., KCMO). 

“After I went to New York, I became obsessed with doing a small neighborhood wine bar in Kansas City because we really don’t have one, outside of Ça Va and Vintage 78’,” Ryan says.

Vita’s Place, named after Ryan’s Italian paternal grandmother, is expected to open in mid-December and will feature a menu with more than two-hundred wines. The top floor will seat thirty-four while the basement will seat twenty.

“It’s going to be tight,” says Ryan, who wanted a small space to create the feel of a neighborhood bar one might stumble upon in New York or Boston.

With the help of designer and carpenter John O’Brien, who also designed Bacaro Primo, Earl’s Premier and Golden Ox, you’d never know the wine bar was a former hair salon. It looks as if its been sitting in the Crestwood Shops strip for years with its rustic dark wooden bar complete with a mustard yellow subway tile back splash from local ceramicist Andy Brayman. Pops of brass along the bar and lighting fixtures give the tattered East Coast vibes a polished looked. 

Vita’s menu will overwhelmingly consist of wine with the exception of Ryan’s personal favorite spirits like gin. Customers will be able to build their own gin and tonics and spritzes.  

“I’m adamant that we stay true to being a wine bar,” Ryan says. “I don’t want to become a craft cocktail bar. We’ve got plenty of those. We can make a Manhattan, we can make an old fashioned, but it’s really more about wine-based cocktails like Negroni, Boulevardiers plus spritzes.”

Instead of Happy Hour, Vita’s Place will have a Vermouth Hour with the opportunity to choose from twenty-five to thirty different types.

“People in the states think that vermouth is just a component to a cocktail,” says the Underdog Wine Co. owner. “They don’t realize, most everywhere else, vermouth is drank like wine on ice.”

The food menu will be small but substantial with high quality imported fare with Italian, Spanish and French influence. Toasted bread will be served with ricotta, mortadella or tuna packed in olive oil.

Vita’s Place will be open Wednesdays through Sundays, 3 to 10 pm. Keep an eye on Vita’s Instagram, @vitasplacekc, for updates.

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