Underdog Wine Co., Cafe Europa expand to Union Hill- KSHB Kansas City

Lindsay Shively

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Two neighboring businesses in the Crestwood Shops are expanding and will be neighbors again. Underdog Wine Co. and Café Europa hope to wine and dine the Union Hill neighborhood with their second locations.

Ryan Sciara, owner of Underdog Wine Co., just opened the doors at his Union Hill location this week. He said he has been eyeing the area for two years. His first store, with that white silhouette of a dachshund in the window, opened in April 2014 in the Crestwood Shops at 55th St. and Brookside Boulevard. The extent of that store’s success, Sciara said, did surprise him but he credits the store’s unique approach.

‘We absolutely sell wine differently,” Sciara said, pointing partly to the store layout. He said he tries to take away the intimidation of wine shopping by putting less expensive wine right on the top shelf, including personal tasting notes with each bottle, and arranging the store in order of light bodied whites to full bodied reds.

The idea behind the name is the idea behind the store. Giving shelf space to the “underdog”, Sciara says he focuses on small production wines from family-owned wineries. It’s also a nod to the family’s own wiener dog and the small size of both of their stores. Their Crestwood store measures just over 500 square feet. The Union Hill shop will have just a tad more elbow room.

Sciara said he knew running his Crestwood store right next door to a restaurant was great for business. After a successful relationship with neighboring Café Europa, he said they seemed like the perfect fit to be neighbors again.

Café Europa hopes to open by the end of 2016. General Manager and founding partner Dan Weber said Sciara brought the idea of Union HIll to them.

This location, he said, will come with Café Europa favorites like their famed lemon cake but the restaurant and menu will have more of an urban feel than their Crestwood restaurant.

“We want it to be distinctly different, to have its own personality that reflects Union Hill,” he said.

The original Café Europa opened in the Crestwood shops in 2008. Weber said his friendship with Sciara started before the businesses were neighbors. That was just one more reason expanding to Union Hill alongside Underdog seemed like a good fit.

Both businesses will be the latest part of the recent development in the historic Union Hill neighborhood.

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