La Va Cafe, at 2100 South St., opened almost six years ago in a space that previously held nuisance bar South Street Blues. Over the years, it’s become a go-to place in the neighborhood for the stay-at-home lunch crowd, the grad-school studying set, and transplanted Israelis looking for tasty shakshuka or burekas. Along with Ten Stone across the street, it’s helped transform a not-so-desirable intersection into a gateway to the neighborhood. Oh, and Honey’s is (still) on the way on the northwest corner of this intersection, come springtime (so we continue to be told).
Earlier this month, La Va began an experiment. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 5pm, the cafe turns into a sit-down BYOB. While coffees and teas are still for sale for take-out, tapping away at a laptop is not allowed; sit down service is solely for those dining in, enjoying specialties of chef David Zaga. Menu items include short ribs, branzino, chicken, and pasta dishes, priced from $14 – $18. We applaud the owners for bravely attempting to redefine their business and expand outside the box of the standard cafe experience.
On the other hand, will customers get the message? Or will six years of training be too tough for customers to forget?
Good thing there are some other cafes in the area that are open late on the weekend…