Chef Liam LaCivita Closes Bar Civita to Head Up Georgetown’s Via Umbria

Italian breakfast sandwiches and fresh pastas are all part of the new menu

Via Umbria. Photograph via Facebook

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Chef Liam LaCivita is closing Bar Civita in Woodley Park this month, but he’s not taking any time out of the kitchen. LaCivita has been tapped as the new executive chef at Via Umbria in Georgetown, where’s he’s already rolled out new menus for the Italian market and restaurant.

LaCivita first met Via Umbria owners Suzy and Bill Menard when he was a chef at Centro in Bethesda, and they owned a market, Bella Italia, nearby. They reconnected when he was preparing to close the Italian-American Bar Civita—a move that he says was both prompted by finances and a desire to get back in the kitchen.

“Ironically, what gets you to where you own your own restaurant is cooking, but then you don’t get to do as much cooking,” says LaCivita. “I really enjoy being behind the stove and creating, whereas paying the bills preoccupied my mind.”

At Via Umbria, LaCivita is transforming the café with more made-to-order items for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Mornings bring Italian-style breakfast sandwiches on homemade breads, such as ciabattini stuffed with porchetta, chestnut-honey butter, aged provolone, and an over-easy egg. Come dinner, patrons can sample Umbrian wines alongside pizzas and homemade pasta dishes with seasonal sauces.

LaCivita has also added to the grab-and-go lineup, with housemade cheeses and freshly fried doughnuts on weekend mornings. For those looking to linger, he plans to add weekly tasting menus in addition to the four-course family-style menus offered Thursday through Saturday.

“I’ve been doing upscale-casual for a long time and am looking to kick it up a notch,” says LaCivita.

Via Umbria. 1525 Wisconsin Ave., NW.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.