My date and I headed there on Saturday night, arriving around 7:30. The wait for a table would have been between 30-45 minutes; we managed to find two seats at the bar, which is our preference anyway when we dine together. With three bartenders on deck, we were handled with care and precision throughout the entire experience.
Emporio has a very pleasant vibe. With the standard blend of interior textures one has come to expect from new establishments, Emporio's use of low lighting, wood, metal, and concrete works well. There are a variety of tables ranging from sizable booths to low and high tops; the three-sided bar seats over twenty comfortably with views of many televisions. The front end of Emporio has a massive garage door opening to a terrace, which certainly will draw patrons from Penn Avenue in warmer temperatures. Over my time spent there, I became fond of the many quirky touches that pepper the atmosphere. For instance, the industrial chic cable and pulley lighting fixtures with their throwback light bulbs are quite clever, as are the "vintage" water decanters and glasses. To complete the pleasant vibe, everything from Mumford and Sons to Bob Marley to TLC played in the background (we may or may not have made a toast to Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes during "Waterfalls").
|The drink menus and my Salty Dog ($8, vodka, fresh grapefruit, salted rim)|
|Italian and Rocket|
|Meatball Sliders ($3) clockwise from bottom left: Spicy Pork w/ creamy parmesan, Chicken w/ arribiatta, Classic Beef w/ sunday gravy, Vegetarian w/ pesto, and Bacon Cheese Burger w/ gov't cheese and pickle|
|Meatball Grinders ($9) top to bottom: Classic Beef w/ sunday gravy and provolone and Bacon Cheese Burger w/ gov't cheese and pickles|
Although we did not indulge in dessert on this visit, Emporio offers a variety of interesting options, most of which are paired with ice cream from Turkey Hill Dairy (Lancaster County). I've had their ice cream several times, and it's very good.
In the upcoming months, I look forward to seeing how Sienna Mercato develops. With Emporio- A Meatball Joint at its base, I would anticipate nothing short of success and an upward extension of a joint that's jumping!
(3.25 stars, 3.25/4)