Think about Mom’s spaghetti and meatballs having a drunken night at the bar and making a love child with say, mac and cheese, or a gouda panini, or even fries. That is essentially the idea behind a new restaurant in Pittsburgh called Emporio: A Meatball Joint.

The concept of the restaurant is following four simple steps to create a unique and delicious meal. Step one is choose your meatball. You have the option of classic beef, spicy pork, vegetarian, or turkey. Next, you choose a sauce: from cheese sauce to marinara to mushroom gravy to spinach pesto to chicken chili to tzatziki. Step three: pick how you want your saucy balls served up – on traditional spaghetti noodles, a bun, hoagie, sliders, fires, mashed potatoes, or tater tots. And the final step is to enjoy, which in my experience, it’s almost impossible not to.

Not only does Emporio boast limitless meaty-good options, it also has a killer bar environment. With trendy, exposed brick, big open spaces, outdoor seating, and a great selection of craft beers, it’s the kind of place you can meet up with friends or go alone and meet some new ones.


Photo by Megan Nichol

My personal experience at Emporio was one for the books. It was a bit unconventional in nature because Emporio was where my mom picked to go for Mother’s Day brunch. When she said she was tired of typical continental breakfast buffet and had something fun to try in mind, boy was she ever right.

Immediately after reviewing the menu I knew I was going to get something covered in the government cheese, but what exactly to order took a bit of contemplating. I decided on one of the better choices I’ve made in my life: pork ball, government cheese sauce, sitting pretty on top mac and cheese.

This delicious combination of meat and cheese was just what the doctor ordered. I got a fruity Bumbleberry ale from FatHeads, a local Pittsburgh brewery, to wash it down with. Pictured behind are my mom’s turkey ball sliders with mushroom gravy, also delicious, just not quite as cheesy. While I am usually the number one supporter of Sunday brunch, beer and meatballs was the perfect way to switch up the pace this Mother’s Day and I would highly recommend Emporio to anyone in the Pittsburgh area.