Our friends at Via Via IV are at it again. Wait, scratch that, I mean Blue Seafood. Just kidding, what I meant was Chicken on Fire. Okay, now I’m just confused…
The establishment’s newest reincarnation, Prince, bills itself as a “Mediterranean”-themed hookah lounge and café, a bold departure from its short-lived days as the impressively brazen Cosa Nostra restaurant. With our dear Via Via now on its 4th name in four years (if you count Blue Seafood and Chicken on Fire as two
“real” separate businesses), this writer can’t help but feel nostalgic for the good ol’ days.
Long a target of the Brown University rumor mill, Via Via was once a staple of the College Hill eatery scene in the days before Mama Kim got her working papers and scientists at NASA figured out how to wrap mediocre pizza in a cone. With a reputation that far exceeded the actual quality of its food, Via Via became a thing of legend; an enigma bathed in an aura of intrigue and tomato sauce.
My first and only encounter with it came my freshman year at Brown. Hungry and drunk at 2:01 AM, I was unable to find any form of sustenance to combat my increasingly intense drunchies. Complaining aloud about the morally reprehensible things I would do for something greasy and covered in cheese, I was told that only Via Via could provide me with the answer to my gastronomic dilemma. Intent on finding something (anything!) to clog my teenage arteries, I made my way to Meeting Street with a few friends and prepared to enter the metaphorical dragon.
Sure enough, the sight that unfolded before me was truly bizarre. Despite an extensive menu that included everything from seafood and pasta, we were told that the only thing they had available was a cheese pizza, one that had clearly seen better days. In the corner, a group of over-tanned men dressed in clothes that I can only describe as far too formal for two in the morning looked perturbed that we had interrupted a meeting of theirs. The whole scene was like something out of a movie we will refer to as “Badbiddies” and after quickly inhaling the bland pizza before me, we gathered our things and left, more bewildered and confused than satiated.
So here’s to you Prince, may you live up to the legend and continue to amaze us with your ability to reimagine yourself time and again! New names and owners may come and go but you’ll always hold a special place in our heart as the-artist-formerly-known-as-Via-Via-IV.