Family Matters

The Scola tribe comes together to bring their family traditions to your home

"Hot bread!"

That was the cry from the Roma Bakery at one or two o'clock in the morning when Joe Scola was a boy. Loaves of the artichoke bread (named for the shape, not ingredients) would come out the Roma Bakery door into the eagerly waiting hands of the children of the Historic Northeast, long a haven for Italian-American families. 

Once home, the bread was torn apart and stuffed full of mama's freshly fried meatballs for an on the spot treat that got them through the morning. 

Now, that same bread is flying off the shelf at Scola's Italian Cookies, the newest haven of carbohydrates in the Northland. 

The bakery, located at 8002 North Oak Trafficway, Suite 105, is a truly family-oriented project. And while cookies may be what brings in passersby, an army of nostalgic Kansas Citians are descending on the shop for fresh bread and desserts. 

The shop is owned by Dianna and Joe Scola, with help from their three children, Linda, Charlie, and Paula, as well as Joe's mother, Linda (aka Nani), and Paula's fiance, TJ. The first granddaughter, Stella, features prominently as the mascot. 

It's Nani's recipes, along with nostalgia, that draws people into Scola's Italian Cookies. The cookie business started in the Scola home many years ago, first as a request from a cousin, Nick Silvia, owner of Em Chamas, for cookies to include on his buffet. Next came requests from friends and neighbors. 

Soon, Dianna made cookies for weddings and holidays, including the St. Joseph table at St. Patrick's Catholic Church. After 18 years as a stay at home mother, she took a job at Cascone's Italian Restaurant, where she became the banquet manager. What came next? More cookies. 

With Nani now living with Dianna and Joe, they had the master to learn from. Linda Scola is notoriously particular about how the cookies are iced, and her commitment to quality shows. The cookies, which include figs, Neapolitans, thaythus, almond slices, and more, are soft, beautiful, and delicious. 

When Scola's opened in early December, word traveled fast. 

"The second day we were open was December 12. And by one o'clock or two o'clock, we sold out and just couldn't keep up.  Well, Frankie Scola, our cousin, called. He said, 'I saw you guys on Facebook. You sold out? Yeah, I'm on my way.' His sister in law Robin, our cousin, called and said, 'I'm on my way.' Her daughter Jenny, who's our cousin, 'I'm on my way.'" Dianna laughs, "They all came and started making cookies. They were here every day during the holidays to make sure we could keep up because we didn't think we were gonna need a staff and that we could just handle it." 

The support of family got them through the holidays, but not without incredibly long shifts, especially from Joe. At one point, after nearly 40 hours of making cookies to keep up with demand, he pulled two chairs together and slept in the shop. 

Part of the hustle is because the cookies are very labor-intensive to make, with some taking up to 17 ingredients and many steps for icing and decorating. Add bread, bagels, and pies to the mix, and their little family bakery has quickly become all-consuming. 

But if the Scola clan is tired, they are exhausted and happy--happy to see grateful faces as their customers pickup artichoke bread, hoagies for Italian subs, and trays of cookies to bring home for dessert. 

Since the beginning of the year, the mad rush has become more manageable, and the Scola's have more time to chat with their clientele that comes from across the metro to fulfill their longing for cookies or just the memories of 'hot bread!'. 

Find Scola's Italian Cookies on Facebook or call them at 816.728.1351.

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