The Foodie Report

Fall brings new restaurants from the creative teams behind Spoon and Sienna Sulla Piazza.

Sienna Sulla Piazza photo by Laura Petrilla



Chef Matthew Porco and his team at Sienna Sulla Piazza — the creative Italian spot that received our 2013 Best New Restaurant honor — have come up with a new restaurant model: Sienna Mercato, a three-story “dining destination” in the Cultural District. The building will house a trio of distinctly different Italian eateries on separate floors. The first restaurant, Emporio, will open this month on the ground level. Porco has developed the “meatball joint’s” menu, which includes a fixed lineup of vegetable, chicken, beef and spicy pork varieties, plus a daily special (such as turkey); in addition, there will be roughly 12 options each for sauces and sides. Porco and company plan to open Emporio’s sister spots separately in the future.

[Inside Sienna Mercato, 942 Penn Ave., downtown;]


Grit & Grace

When chef Brian Pekarcik added American-inspired dim sum to the menu at Spoon, he found great success; the lineup of late-night offerings, served Thursday through Saturday, had developed a loyal following. In late August, he stopped offering dim sum in anticipation of Grit & Grace’s debut this fall. Pekarcik plans to make the street food available via trays; the idea is to pass and share this fare. There will be a handful of dim sum offerings daily. Other dishes at Grit & Grace will exhibit Indian, Latin and Asian street-food flavors. Grit & Grace’s look is more “urban chic,” with dark wood and warm earth tones, plus a combination of traditional and communal seating. Master mixers will craft cocktails with “global influence” at the full-service bar.

[535 Liberty Ave., downtown;]



Proper Brick Oven & Tap Room

There are two things that most people like: pizza and beer. Proper Brick Oven & Tap Room offers both — along with an array of sandwiches, pastas, appetizers, salads and desserts. Chef Lynette “LBEE” Bushee, previously of Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina, heads up the kitchen at Proper. The restaurant, which opened at the end of August, is located in the space of former mainstay Tambellini Seventh Street Ristorante and is bustling before performances at nearby venues.

[139 Seventh St., downtown; 412/281-5700,]


The Urban Tap

Offering more than 30 draft beers — including one dispensed from an enormous faucet-like tap — plus TVs, high-booth seating and a menu of gastropub fare, the crew at The Urban Tap hopes you’ll drop in and stay a while. Executive chef Marc Barckhoff’s mission is to prepare familiar dishes with unusual touches, such as mussels in a panang curry sauce with sweet basil and cilantro. The kitchen staff will smoke meats in-house, including housemade bacon and sausage, and half-chickens.

[1209 E. Carson St., South Side;]

Categories: Eat + Drink Features