Born and raised in Kansas City, I thought that I had seen all that the city had to offer. When I visited my hometown this past summer, I had a huge craving for some handmade pasta, but couldn't think of any affordable places that would satisfy my needs. Upon some internet research, I found a restaurant called Cupini's that I decided to test out. Although I was skeptical that a new restaurant could possibly stack up to my childhood favorites, trying out Cupini's turned out to be one of my best decisions all summer.

A little bit about Cupini's

Franco Cupini and his son Eddie opened their restaurant in the heart of Westport in 2003. Their objective was simple: to make all-natural pasta that's fresh and affordable. They delivered on this promise, and were so successful after the first year, that they were able to expand their restaurant. Cupini's offers a wide range of appetizers, fresh pastas, pizzas, and paninis—all for a reasonable price.

The background

The food at Cupini's is so delicious, that it was featured on the 'Pork, Pasta, and Barbecue' episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. The restaurant was put to the test to please Guy Fieri's taste buds, and he was not disappointed. When trying Cupini's signature Lasagna, Fieri stated that "This is everything you want in lasagna," which, considering how many lasagnas Guy has tried in his lifetime, is pretty high praise.

The atmosphere

When you initially walk in, Cupini's looks like an Italian deli. There's a casual, relaxed vibe, and the staff is super friendly. Everyone seems passionate about the food they serve, and they're happy to be doing it. You place your order at the front counter and take a number to your table in the dining area, which is located in a separate room down the hall. Food gets dished out extremely quickly, so you won't have to wait long.

The specials

Cupini's weekly specials blow all other restaurant specials right out of the water. On Mondays, buy a panini and get the second one half off. On Tuesdays, get any pasta with your choice of three different sauces for only $5. On Wednesdays Cupini's offers free toasted ravioli when you get a 12-inch pizza. Thursdays are my personal favorite: they offer amazing gnocchi with any sauce on the menu. And finally, on Fridays, buy any bottle of wine and get a free dessert. No matter what day you go, it'll be a win-win for you and your stomach.

The desserts

If all of this hasn't convinced you to make the trip to Cupini's yet, then the dessert menu will. The restaurant offers a huge selection of cakes: Red Velvet, Carrot Cake, Italian Wedding Cake, and German Chocolate, just to name a few. I tried their carrot cake, and was pleasantly surprised. Cupini's version of this classic has chunks of pineapple in the mix, which took the dessert to the next level. If you're not into cake, you can also try a cannoli or tiramisu. No matter what, there's something for everyone.

With the success of their restaurant, it's unfathomable that people outside of Westport and downtown KC still aren't familiar with this place. When I discovered Cupini's, I went three times that week (despite it being a 30 minute drive from my house) because it was just that incredible. With its affordable prices, Cupini's is truly a gem in Kansas City that everyone needs to try ASAP.