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Via la Casa opens in Lakewood Ranch's San Marco Plaza

The multipurpose shop is a coffee and wine bar, art gallery, home decor store and event space.

Gabriella Moss and her mother, Silvia Costa, are 50/50 partners in Via la Casa.
Gabriella Moss and her mother, Silvia Costa, are 50/50 partners in Via la Casa.
Photo by Lesley Dwyer
  • East County
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In Italian, Via la Casa means “street of the home."

Now co-owners Gabriella Moss and Silvia Costa hope their Via la Casa, San Marco Plaza's newest business, is like a home to their patrons.

It serves as a coffee shop, wine bar, art gallery, home decor store and event space all in one.

Moss, 28, owns the shop with her mother, Costa. Both women live locally — Moss in Greenbrook and Costa in the Concession.

The coffee bar, furnished with bar stools, is front and center when entering Via la Casa, but there are more comfortable couches and chairs to choose from as well. If the furnishings seem too nice to risk spilling on, Costa said they’re not.

“The rugs are not very expensive," Costa said. "The couch is made for sitting. I sprayed Scotchgard on the chairs. That’s why we have super rustic tables, cutting boards and things like that, so you’re not scared of spilling or scratching.”

With the exception of a few one-of-a-kind pieces like the 19th century table from France or the box that was turned into a table, the furniture is for sale, too. Just ask and it’ll be ordered. The “box” table originally held a model airplane until Costa thought it would make a good coffee table, so she stained and varnished it.

Costa, 57, is the artist behind the 18 oil paintings that adorn Via la Casa’s walls. Most are originals, but walk around with Costa and she’ll make you guess which ones aren’t. The replicas are archival pigment prints done on canvas. They’re museum quality with a lifespan of 200 years. Originals run from $12,000 to $70,000, and prints from $500 to $2,000.

“I priced them where I wouldn’t regret selling them,” Costa said. “I’m a perfectionist, and it’s realism. When you look at the painting, you think you’re looking at a photo. It takes a lot of hours.”

Gabriella Moss is the subject in "Yellow Dress," an oil painting by her mother, Silvia Costa.

A larger 48”x72” painting can take Costa up to 180 hours to finish. She works off photographs. One of her favorite pieces is called “Yellow Dress.” Moss is the woman wearing the dress.

The idea to open an art gallery came first. Everything else snowballed from there.

“I said, ‘There should be home decor in the mid-space, and we’ll create a home with the art and the furniture underneath it,’” Moss said. “Then I thought, why not blend it into a coffee shop as well?”

When Costa heard coffee, she added wine. The mother and daughter team work well together, each with a different skill set. Costa has a background in merchandising and focuses on the decor and inventory, while Moss earned a material science engineering degree from the University of Florida and handles the bar, marketing and social media.

They only butt heads over the budget. Moss is the more fiscally conservative of the two. As for shoppers, Via la Casa fits any budget. The home decor items range from $10 hand towels to an $800 ceramic platter handmade and imported from Italy.

“If you can’t afford a painting, buy a cappuccino,” Costa said. “You can just have a coffee, look around at all the paintings and merchandise, and enjoy yourself.”

Alexa Jones lingers after her coffee and chats with Moss from across the bar.
Photo by Lesley Dwyer

Alexis Jones was looking for a spot to grab a coffee on her way home from work to the Residences at the Green.

“We don’t have a lot of smaller coffee shops in Lakewood Ranch. I teach tennis, so I’m usually on the search for coffee after lessons,” Jones said. “The coffee is very good. It doesn’t taste acidic, and it doesn’t have an aftertaste. The banana bread was really good, too, and gluten free.”

Jones plans on returning, but she's bringing her mom next time, and that’s exactly the response Moss hopes to hear.

“This is a place to connect,” she said. “We have the opportunity to connect with the community and also provide a place that the community can connect, whether meeting with friends or for business.”

The shop is closed Sundays and Mondays to host private events, and the current hours may expand with employees. For now, Via la Casa runs on a staff of two: Moss and Costa.

They’re tweaking and evolving as they go. Wine tastings start next month. For now, the focus is on getting to know their customers and offering that little something extra you can’t find at a Starbucks. For one, the iced coffee is served in a red wine glass.

“It’s more beautiful, and everybody wants to feel special,“ Costa said. “Everybody comes here and has a story to tell, and by the end, we’re kind of friends.”



Lesley Dwyer

Lesley Dwyer is a staff writer for East County and a graduate of the University of South Florida. After earning a bachelor’s degree in professional and technical writing, she freelanced for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Lesley has lived in the Sarasota area for over 25 years.

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