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Via’s wood-fired pizzas are coming to events and festivals.
Photo provided by Drake Tillman
Via’s wood-fired pizzas are coming to events and festivals.

Restaurateur launches side project

Posted online

Restaurateur Drake Tillman has a new venture cooking.

Tillman this morning said his new catering business, dubbed Via, began operating a couple weeks ago.

“It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a little while in my spare time,” he said. “This is definitely a bit of a side project.”

Tillman, the sole operator of Via, said his first booking, a private event at Mother’s Brewing Co., is today. He also has two events booked later this month at Urban Roots Farm LLC, timed with plant sales at the 831 W. State St. West Central neighborhood farm. He’s also planning to set up Via at festivals, such as Artsfest.

Powered by a portable oven carried on a trailer, Tillman said Via is “centered around wood-fired eats,” namely pizza. He also pointed to plans to serve “piadinas,” a dish he said can be simplified as an “Italian quesadilla,” and noted Via would serve as a “testing ground for a potential Italian restaurant down the road.”

Tillman previously operated fine dining pop-up event company Canvas Missouri LLC. He’s also working on a C-Street venture called Elkhart & The Robberson.

He said a spring 2020 opening is the latest target for the restaurant and bar at 300 E. Commercial St., the site of the failed return of Ophelia’s. After crews an discovered underground cellar in the building in 2017, Tillman said new issues, such as working with historical guidelines for the 150-year-old building, have popped up.

“It’s a slow-moving process,” he said.

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