Farina Di Vita flourishing in Queen Village
Meaning “Flour of Life” in Italian, the new haunt is translating into a great time for sandwich and pasta buffs.
Jason Okdeh is a little more than a month into overseeing Farina Di Vita with longtime buddy Brandyn Luis Ortiz, but he’s already made the 250 Catherine St. spot a hot newcomer to the sandwich and pasta scenes.
“I’ve loved everywhere I’ve been in this field, but being here is different because it’s mine,” the co-proprietor said as he stamped ravioli. “I enjoy having the ability to make changes and bringing my visions to life.”
Okdeh and Ortiz were operating Farina Di Vita as a pop-up kitchen specializing in “pasta drops” before securing a brick-and-mortar spot. In an April 2022 Instagram post they promised their future shop would retain the pasta drops and expand to offer “boutique pasta, imported Italian goods, an all-imported deli section with imported meat and cutlet sandwiches, local collaborations with chefs all over the city, events in the dining hall on the lower level and locally sourced goods from bakeries and other local businesses.”
“We’ve come a long way, and I think that’s because of a commitment to quality products and the consideration that goes into what we’re doing,” Okdeh stated. “You’re going to taste that dedication no matter what you’re looking to have.”
Okdeh, a Delaware County resident with strong South Philly roots, is winning acclaim for his cold and cutlet sandwiches. He proudly proclaims he has a proficiency for marrying flavors.
Case in point: The Marie—a fresh mozzarella-and-parma-prosciutto pairing combined with arugula, tomatoes, salt pepper, olive oil, and a lemon spritz. The sandwich takes its name from his grandmother Mary “Marie” Esposito.
The Bronco Cutlet, teeming with spinach, bronco sauce, and burrata has generated buzz on social media.
There’s also a catering menu that includes generously portioned entrees such as chicken parmesan, salmon piccata, sausage and peppers, meatballs, stuffed shells, and baked ziti.
“We want to make an impression each day,” said Okdeh, “You don’t get that way by being like everyone else, so although we’re in a business where plenty of people make great pasta and/or sandwiches, ours, I’d say, have that extra bit of awesomeness.”
Farina Di Vita