The historic “Cultural District” of Downtown Pittsburgh may have always been “historic,” (or at least for the last 200+ years), but the nod to Pittsburgh’s cultural scene was earned fairly recently. As the retail boom slowed and receded in the 90’s to early 2000’s, Downtown Pittsburgh was taken over by crime and decay. In true Pittsburgher style, however, the locals began to take back their downtown with the introduction of new commerce. Galleries and theaters, sports arenas, hotels and foodie-focused restaurants began improving the downtown ‘Burgh life. And that trend continues. Not the least of these great new downtown destinations is an independent, three-in-one restaurant known as the Sienna Mercato located on Penn Ave. between 9th and 10th Streets. With a simplistic and trendy, industrial-chic ambiance of exposed brick walls and ceiling beams, concrete floors, and garage doors that create an open space of fresh air dining on multiple floors, it’s a wonder there’s ever an empty seat in the house.
Inspired by the New York Meatball Shop, the first floor of the new multi-level eatery is known as the “Emporio,” and the place is well on its way to earning the title of The Pittsburgh Meatball Joint. With four different styles of meatballs and nine different sauce options (including vegetarian and gluten-free options for both) as well as a host of different ways to have them served, Emporio is a meatball lover’s little slice of smorgasbord-heaven.
Upstairs on the second floor, Mezzo Wine and Charcuterie offers a less-bar-more-sit-down dining experience with woodfired pizzas, artisanal cheeses and creative pastas gracing the menu. Mike McCoy, a managing partner who oversees all three restaurants, describes Mezzo as “the best food destination within the building.” The charcuterie also offers fresh Burgh air to its dining patrons with bays that open up to the city.
When the third floor, Il Tetto, opened up, the “Rooftop Beer Garden” simply stole the show. Pittsburgh Magazine lauded it as “reminiscent of a historical train station, featuring an arched ceiling constructed of glass panels that retract to create an open-air space.” Only an extraordinary small-plate menu featuring mouth-watering dishes like pickled vegetables, wood-fired oysters, and beef carpaccio could hold its own between the well-polished surface of impressive 50-foot bar and a ceiling of open sky. The retractable rooftop (which closes to create a protective clear shell during inclement weather) and an open view of some of Pittsburgh’s most famous skyscrapers are among the perks of this dining experience. According to Brian, a long-time Pittsburgh bartender , “There’s nothing like this in the city; Nothing that retracts like this!”
For lunch, dinner, or a late evening snack, the hours (11 am – midnight for most of the week) cater to Pittsburgh’s hopping nightlife. If you’re looking for the taste of chef-driven fine-dining in a relaxed, down to earth atmosphere, this is where it can be found. Though the Sienna Mercato has already been the fodder for many an article (Pittsburgh Magazine’s The Foodie Report), blog (Fork 2 Mouth), and rave review, we’re not convinced that any combination of words could truly do the dining experience justice. Trust us. You just need to go and (at least, according to this reviewer,) “order everything.”
1″ insulated glass, motorized, R3 retraction, Custom framework color