In 2007, two newcomers to Providence, exploring the area around their new apartment in the District, decided to try a restaurant with an odd name, just up the street. Stepping into CAV, they were dazzled, as all 1st-time CAV-goers were, by the sparkling lights and the array of artifacts.
An effusive woman introduced herself and, on hearing that we were "new in the area," she reached in a pocket and produced two ancient-looking coins. "Welcome and good luck," she said. And today we looked at these little tokens with special fondness.
Just one of many memories people have of a special person.
It came as a shock when the news started circulating that Sylvia had died. Seen in operation at her action station at CAV Restaurant, she seemed so impressively alive for all these years. We all have our own personal memories of her.
If you only knew her from consulting on the menu and exchanging pleasantries over dinner, it is hard to grasp the fullness of her life.
Newcomers to town won't know that for more than 10 years she was the Executive Director of the Providence Athenaeum. That she was a collector of antiquities is obvious from a visit to CAV. Her facility with a multitude of languages, growing from her origins in Egypt and world travels, was impressive.
But most of us experienced her without realizing it: the warmth of the hospitality at CAV reflected her attention to detail and understanding of what makes dining out a pure pleasure.
Aly Stallman, Sylvia's husband, announced that CAV will continue operating as usual.
The Jewelry District Association joins a long list of Sylvia's friends, fans and admirers in extending our sympathies to Aly Stallman and his family.
Gail Ciampa, Providence Journal Food Editor offered her own recollections of Sylvia HERE
The Providence Athenaeum wrote of their years with Sylvia HERE.