‘OH my, is it Ash Wednesday already?’ I thought upon seeing the black smudge on the forehead of a woman in the subway car after quickly swiveling my neck to avert my eyes from the homeless man with a pint of something clear in one hand and an unlit cigar in the other yet still enshrouded in a mystery miasma.
Lost in the fog, I had something big to report: the possible closing of Bella Via! No descriptive necessary as everyone in Long Island City knows that I am referring to the landmark restaurant prominently located on Vernon and 48th Avenue. The big question is ‘What’s Up?’
Darkened for the past few days and not picking up the phone, there have been a host of rumors including: it’s just short term renovations, it’s been sold and will be run as-is by a new operator, it will become another restaurant altogether, it just ain’t opening back up.
Bella Via was opened by Sal Polito in 2002. Sal was familiar with the neighborhood through his father who worked in a butcher shop located across the street from St. Mary’s church on Vernon Blvd. A year later the restaurant received a glowing review by William Grimes in The New York Times and the rest is history. Until now…
Diner’s Journal: Bella Via – William Grimes NYT April 2003