The Italian deli and trattoria will be open for lunch during the week and dinner during the weekends in the space previously occupied by The Broadway Roasting Company (301 Westport Rd.).
Laura Norris discovered a gas-operated stone fireplace hidden behind panels of drywall in her new space, which was the original Pryde’s of Westport in the 1960s and Optical Shop of Aspen, Inc. in the 1980s and ’90s. Now, Norris is hoping to open her first restaurant in the space. They found stone hearth will be the centerpiece of Cucina della Ragazza—meaning, roughly, “the kitchen of the young girl” —an Italian deli and full-service trattoria with counter service during lunch and a full dinner service on the weekends.
Norris is a Kansas City native and has led several high-profile careers in the area, which included six years as vice president of external affairs for Planned Parenthood of Kansas City and her current role as executive director of the nonprofit YouthFriends. Norris is following her dream of opening her own restaurant, especially an Italian one. Her mother is an Italian-American. Norris hopes to serve recipes from the Aeolian Islands, off the coast of Sicily, where her grandparents were born.
Norris is still preparing permits, but in the meantime, she has determined that Cucina della Ragazza will be nothing like Cupini’s or Bella Napoli in Brookside. In fact, she’s not doing pizzas to avoid being similar to Jake Imperioli’s Bella Napoli.
Norris is working toward a November opening date in her Westport space.