STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — After taking time off from her restaurant Vida to travel this winter, Silva Popaz has decided not to reopen the Stapleton venue when she returns to Staten Island in the spring.
“’Vida’ means ‘life,’” Popaz said recently.
And she said she sees the 16-year old “world food” eatery as a hub in a revived community, which is why she’ll continue to rent out the dining room and kitchen to guest chefs, a tradition she’s maintained each year when she goes on vacation.
“The restaurant is open for pop-ups, for community events. It’s been listed for sale, but we’ll do that program while it’s on the market,” explained Popaz.
“This is a perfect opportunity for a chef to see if he or she is right for the business,” she said of amateur cooks looking to go pro or invest in a restaurant. She explained that the pop-up restaurant concept tests the waters and allows creative types to showcase the delicious food they might be featuring on social media.
The Vida restaurant rental includes insurance, plus necessary licensing from the Staten Liquor Authority and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Long-time “Vida-ite” Marisa Sullivan manages the guest chefs in Popaz’ absence.
The next pop-up will be orchestrated by Alicia Reinish, owner of Catered Word known for her former restaurant Cafe Botanica at Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens, Livingston.
Her Vida event is dubbed “Aunt Ethel’s Pot Pies,” a tasting showcase that will take place on Saturday and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The menu options are chicken pot pie, coq au vin and Shepherd’s pie for $8 each. Beer and wine are $6 a glass, with homemade sparkling sodas at $4 each. Frozen to-go pie kits are $8.50 and variety packs are $12.
Reservations are accepted, but not necessary, via Sullivan at 917-470-7529.
Popaz said she loves and appreciates her new neighbors.
These include: Duzers Local, with its gourmet coffee shop and artisan market; The Hop Shoppe and its arcade and gourmet burger selection; the Sunday brunch and Southern-style desserts at Pastry Lovers Choice; The Coupe, a speakeasy just next door to Vida with sophisticated cocktails and small plates for the nibbling.
Popaz said she credits her family for her love of food and cooking.
Born in Belgrade of the former Yugoslavia, her repertoire at Vida included pasluj, a Balkan soup that can be likened to pasta e fagioli. She used Hungarian sweet paprika in the roux and a stock made with smoked beef necks.
Her grandmother served as a role model for Popaz.
At Vida’s 15-year anniversary, Popaz told the Advance, “…A ritual every Sunday was at our old enamel table in the kitchen. Sunday was my favorite cartoon day because ‘Popeye’ came on at 9 o’clock.”
Her grandmother “looked like she was going around the table cutting a cloth …. But she was actually making her own phyllo,” recalled Popaz, speaking about a paper-thin pastry that develops out of a meticulous process of buttering and rolling out dough.
Vida is located at 381 Van Duzer St., Stapleton.
Source: Thanks https://www.silive.com/entertainment/2020/03/vida-shuts-a-la-carte-restaurant-continues-to-share-kitchen-with-community.html