After announcing its closure in March, Via’s Pizza officially has a new owner and a new name.
“Via’s Pizza and More” will become “Pizzeria Via Family Dining” with its grand opening.
On April 3, the business was sold to Joseph Bullock, a local entrepreneur who was born and raised in Topeka.
“I’ve worked with restaurants, but I’ve never owned one,” Bullock said. “But I’m looking forward to carrying on a wonderful tradition that so many people here love and don’t want to see go away, and getting to know more people in the community. It’s like a community service for me.”
Before buying the restaurant, Bullock worked with AT&T for 38 years.
Since Bullock and his team began work inside Via’s, 738 S.W. Gage, he said, people were stopping by daily wondering when it would open. While Bullock can’t yet give an exact date, he anticipates a May opening, pending approval of the business’ liquor license.
Joining him at Via’s are a few former employees, including two managers, Rob Hallford and Anthony Miller, who previously worked at Via’s for three years, and Kenny Jones, who is new to the team. Bullock said having previous staff on board will help as the business continues to create some of Via’s most popular dishes.
“We’re keeping a lot of the menu the same, not everything — we’re changing the menu a bit. Two of the people that are with me, they were the main employees, and they know what we need and what is bought by most patrons,” Bullock said.
Some returning popular favorites are the deep dish pizza, gluten-free crusts, cauliflower crusts, grinders sandwiches, wraps and wings.
The restaurant will also expand its alcohol options, though not a full sports bars’ worth, as Bullock said he still wants it to be a family restaurant. It will also add Coca-Cola products.
Bullock said he had no previous relationship with former owner William Cox’s business but was a regular patron. He appreciates Cox working diligently with him to help Via’s move forward and be a success.
To help start business off on the right foot, Bullock will honor gift cards and coupons purchased from the previous owner, with a few restrictions.
During purchase negotiations, Bullock learned of $2,000 in gift cards previously purchased and a program called Sweet Deals, which essentially was a buy one, get one free program.
“I actually put in the contract with the previous owner that I am going to honor those gift cards for three months, and for the Sweet Deal I will value them for three months at face value only,” Bullock said. “So at least they can get their money back.”
Bullock said he considers himself a fair businessman, and he hopes people can appreciate his decision. He also hopes people haven’t thrown away their gift cards.