Emporio: A Meatball Joint! to open tomorrow

Written by Melissa McCart on

emporioaEmporio: A Meatball Joint! will open Downtown at 942 Penn Ave. at 4 p.m. tomorrow, the first floor of Sienna Mercato. The restaurant will run dinner service only this week and will open for lunch next week.

"This restaurant is unlike anything else available Downtown," said general manager Ryan Burke. "Once people get the hang of the menu, it will be a great option for pre-theater or before a game." Valet service is available. The menu and photos of the interior can be found here and here

Sienna Sulla Piazza executive chef Matthew Porco and Michael McCoy are the managing partners of the restaurant, while Donald Amman is the executive chef.

Emporio is the ground level of a three-concept restaurant. Italian for "marketplace," Mercato's 4,000-square-foot Emporio: A Meatball Joint! displays 20-seat U-shaped bar where the bartender can serve any of 32 beers on tap, wine, classic cocktails, Italian ices and cream sodas.

The 120-seat restaurant will have a menu based on the infinite number of dishes that can start with one of four meatballs: classic beef, spicy pork, vegetarian and chicken, though Mr. Porco said he'll also have daily specials along the lines of bacon cheeseburger meatballs or a play on a Philly cheese steak.

Il Tetto is next in line to open in the spring of 2014, the third level with a retractable roof that will allow for year-round use of the 150-seat restaurant. The menu will feature a short list of pickles, wood-fired oysters, charcuterie, cheese and carpaccio. 

Mr. Burke said that the second floor Mezzo will open sometime around Memorial Day with a casual menu of wood-fired pizza, charcuterie and cheese plates and panini for starters. Mr. Porco said he's planning to feature five or six variations on risotto, inspired by Mario Batali's Otto in New York as well as a Risotteria in the West Village.

 "It's a massive challenge to open a three-level restaurant," said Mr. Burke. "We don't want to rush it."

Melissa McCart photos

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