VIA 417 expects to bring authentic Italian cuisine to Jenkintown within the next 14 days.
While the final menu touches are forthcoming, owner Izzy Reka and head chef Kelvin Poci plan to serve up a combination of classic and elegant dishes.
“We’re going to have classics that everyone knows,” Izzy said. “The other side of the menu is going to be our interpretation of different ingredients with a modern touch. The restaurant’s inside is going to be elegant and classic combined, too.”
VIA 417’s name is a nod to the restaurant’s physical address, 417 Old York Road, and “VIA” is a common Italian expression akin to “Let’s go.”
Izzy owns a second restaurant in New Jersey, Mare Monte, which opened three and a half years ago. He’s lived in the Philly area for the last 12 years, and admires the Jenkintown area.
“I have a lot of friends who live around here. My mother-in-law lives in Abington. I liked the town, and when I saw the place was available, I started making plans for a second restaurant,” he said.
Izzy and Kelvin have a combined 28 years of experience in the restaurant industry, and noted Jenkintown Borough’s helpfulness in making their plans come together.
“Two months ago we went to the board, and they’ve been very helpful with the permits. The health and safety inspection is done. We’ve just been waiting to pass with the fire marshal. Kevin [Lynch, Jenkintown’s fire marshal] has been great to work with,” Izzy said.
“Give us a try, and if we do good, I like honest feedback. I don’t like sugarcoating. If you like what we do, let us know,” Izzy said.
Kelvin arrived in the U.S. eight years ago. He spent the previous eight years living in Greece and refining his touch with Mediterranean dishes. He noted the restaurant’s small-scale as a means to control the consistency and quality of the menu.
“The idea was to make something small, fresh, and mostly homemade food, including the sauces. We needed something small so we could better control the quality. We want small and good,” he said.
“This is a new area to us. We’ve visited here before, and we like it. I used to work in Southhampton,” Kelvin said. “This is my passion. It’s beautiful. Philly is a nice city with a lot of flavors from all around the world.”
The business partners recommend their pasta above all else, and said that every menu item will be homemade, from gnocchi to desserts.
For more on VIA 417, you can check out their new Facebook page. Stay tuned for the restaurant’s announcement of the grand opening and hours of operation going forward.
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