Via Forno

2 Garth Road

Scarsdale, NY 10583

Tel. + 1 (914) 556-6464


The Food:

Via Via Pressed Panino; Prosciutto San Daniele, Fresh Mozzarella, Arugula, Tomato

Insalata Tricolore: Endive, Radicchio, Arugula, Olives, Pamigiano, Sea Salt, Lemon Vinaigrette

Pizza Margherita

Eggplant Parm; Thin Sliced, Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Ricotta, Parmigiano, Basil

The Wine:

2017 Domaine du Pélican Arbois Trois Cépages       90

No industry has been hit harder during the COVID-19 outbreak than the hospitality industry. In last week’s Vinous Table, I wrote “Having worked for a number of years in restaurants, I am keenly aware of these two simple truths…: 1) margins are very tight and 2) no restaurant, no matter how successful, is ever more than a few bad weeks away from layoffs, or even closing.” That has, unfortunately proven to be true as Covid-19 continues to spread. Restaurants, even the biggest groups, are essentially cash businesses. With no revenues, there is no money to pay employees.

Tables are grouped together and chairs are stacked, pretty much the same thing you will see in any restaurant in New York right now.

Danny Meyer announced a few days ago that he had no choice but to lay off 2,000 people, or about 80% of his staff, while Tom Colicchio laid off 300. Colicchio painted a grim outlook for the hospitality industry in an interview on CNN, and stated that he would be surprised if 70% of restaurants re-opened. Naturally, the impact on the people who work in restaurants and hotels is dramatic. But that is just the beginning, because a lack of activity in hospitality has so many trickle-down effects and threatens the long-term viability of many industries, from the purveyors of food products and wine, to companies that clean linens to commercial real estate owners.

Via Via Pressed Panino; Prosciutto San Daniele, Fresh Mozzarella, Arugula, Tomato.

The situation has been very fluid, changing every few days. Eric Ripert and Daniel Boulud were among the chefs that announced temporary closures ahead of a mandated drop in capacity to 50%. That was followed by a total ban, with the exception of take out and delivery. Restaurateurs responded in various ways. As mentioned above, some completely suspended operations, while others have tried to adapt as much as possible. Some cuisines lend themselves to take-out/delivery, while others do not. Restaurants have been selling everything they can, from produce to alcohol, which quite remarkably, government authorities are allowing during this unprecedented time. Who knows even how long this will last, given that the State of California and the City of New York are now requiring all non-essential employees to stay home. So, for now, we can’t dine out, but take-out is available, at least for a few days.

Via Forno is one of my local pizza joints. The menu is what you would expect – mostly paninis, pizzas, salads and pastas. The Via Via Pressed Panino is stuffed with San Daniele prosciutto, mozzarella, arugula and tomato. It is rich and delicious on a cold spring night. Via Forno’s Eggplant Parm, billed as an appetizer, is enough to satisfy 2-3 people, especially if shared. Terrific. The Margherita pizza is a classic, with a crust that is neither too crisp nor too heavy, but just right. For some greens with a little interest, the Insalata Tricolore is an excellent choice. Despite the somber outlook, the staff at Via Forno has been upbeat on the few times I have been there recently. I am looking forward to going back when things eventually come back to something resembling normalcy.

Pizza Margherita.

A few years ago Guillaume d’Angerville began expanding from Volnay with the acquisition of vineyards in Jura. Since then, he has added to his holdings. The 2017 Arbois Trois Cépages is a pretty blend of Pinot Noir, Trousseau and Poulsard. Bright floral notes and red berry fruit are nicely lifted in an attractive, gracious light-bodied wine that is easy to drink now. I suppose a juicier red like a Dolcetto, Barbera, Aglianico or even Chianti Classico would have technically been a better match for this food, but the wine was delicious just the same.

Eggplant Parm; Thin Sliced, Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Ricotta, Parmigiano, Basil.

Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how things play out over the next few weeks and months. I think it is pretty clear the entire world will be different and that many industries will be re-shaped. If you can, do something for those less fortunate. Plenty of people need our help.

Resources to help the hospitality industry can be found on the Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation website.