2015 Delicious Design Winner: Sienna Mercato is Three Restaurants in One

Each restaurant merits commendation for its design; together they are one of the most impressive dining spaces in the city.


photos by Laura Petrilla

 

The owners of Sienna Mercato had ambitious plans for their three-restaurant concept when they secured a long term lease on the old Trombino Piano Gallerie building downtown.

“We wanted to make each floor different yet make sure there was some kind of continuity between the three,” says co-owner Susan Certo, who designed the space with Co-owner Tom Certo, Co-owner/Front-of-House Manager Michael McCoy and Co-owner/Executive Chef/Managing Partner Matthew Porco. Architect Doug Sipp documented the owners’ design concepts.
 


 

Several key design elements tie together the restaurants, which debuted months apart in 2014. First, eyes are drawn on all three floors to exposed, worn red brick. Steel runs throughout; the original mighty beams frame the ceilings of the first two floors and the bar on the third.

Ghost signs, graphic reminders of things no longer there, are a device of continuity and distinction. Each restaurant is identified by a representative logo: Emporio’s name is scripted inside a meatball, Mezzo inside a pig and Il Tetto inside the top of a beer glass.


 

Emporio is the most casual of the three eateries. “It has an industrial feel,” says Certo. Exposed steel beams are the most prominent feature here, mirrored below by the light aluminum chairs. The glass garage door that opens to Penn Avenue creates an airy feel.
 


 

Mezzo, on the center floor, is the most refined of the three eateries. Chalk art by Brooklyn-based Two Arms flows over the marble bar, the wood-fired pizza oven and the high-ceilinged dining room. Heavy, distressed white and olive-green chairs and custom tables, both hand-built by Old Barn Star in Lancaster, Pa., combine with the faded goldenrod banquettes to craft a fancy farmhouse feel. Little touches — such as the cow-scene black-and-white wallpaper — demonstrate a fine attention to detail.
 


 

Il Tetto, with its sweeping city vista, tops the building. “We didn’t want to do too much on this level because the view speaks for itself,” says Certo. Still, it’s hard to miss the Italian-influenced steel streetlights, the retractable roof — which looks like a greenhouse during the colder months — and the massive black walnut bar.

​Certo and the rest of Sienna Mercato’s owners are to be commended for completing this ambitious project. Each restaurant merits commendation for its design; together they are one of the most impressive dining spaces in the city.

DOWNTOWN: 942 Penn Ave.
412/281-2810; siennapgh.com

 

 

Categories: Best Restaurants 2015