Via Farina literally translates to “By way of flour,” a fitting name for a restaurant that boasts fresh pasta and pizza dough made in-house daily.
Located in the city’s Little Italy neighborhood at 1108 S. 10th St., Via Farina prides itself on sourcing local farm ingredients.
Its antipasti menu features fried cauliflower and shaved brussels sprouts. Among the wood-fired pizzas are the traditional Margherita (fresh mozzarella, basil and olive oil) and Salsiccia (garlic sausage fennel, arugula, sun-dried tomatoes and pecorino.)
Handmade pastas such as Bucatini Pomodoro (tomato, basil and pecorino) and Cacio e Pepe (bucatini, black pepper, pecorino and grana panano cheeses). The chef rotates the menu seasonally.
The carefully crafted menu offers the ultimate comfort food with the refined yet simple flavors of Italy all in a single bite.
John Rea, head chef at Via Farina, admits he was a novice to the pleasures of Italian cuisine. “Italian food was so foreign to me. It’s certainly a comfort food of sorts,” Rea says. “I love how rustic it is. I love the simplicity, the balance, those are all the things about Italian food that kind of drew me in. There’s a lot of parallels.”
It’s no accident the locally owned Via Farina draws repeat customers from across the city.
“People seem to be driven to always come back to this eatery to grab another taste of their delicious handcrafted beverages and to-die-for dishes,” Rea says. “While tasty, the dishes are simple and elegant allowing them to speak for themselves. There’s nothing intimidating in there, but it’s the idea of when good ingredients are used properly and balanced – how harmonious that one dish can be.”
Via Farina’s commitment to quality and attention to detail comes through in the making of its wood-fired pizzas. The entire process takes up to three days.
“The pizza crust develops the leopard spotting – the little charred pieces on the crust,” Rea says. It’s your contrast of flavor between those bitter pieces and the sourdough crust that kind of makes our pizza what it is.”
While Rea raves about the wood-fired pizza, he says his personal favorite dish is Egg Yolk Raviolo.
“That was the first dish I ever had before I ever started working here. Still, to this day, probably my most memorable pasta dish I’ve ever had on first bite,” Rea says. “It’s such a perfect cold-weather dish. It’s brown butter, sage, some crispy cheese, runny egg yolk, black pepper. There’s not much to dislike about it.”
Rea says the restaurant caters to a diverse clientele whether they’re attending a Blue Barn production or celebrating a special occasion with friends.
“The most important goals are our quality food, quality drinks, quality service in a fun, laid-back atmosphere,” Rea says. “And you can do it for not as much money as you have to spend at a lot of places.” ◆