The West Village is looking a little more Midwestern this season.
Following years of yearning for the tastes of his hometown, Chicago, restaurateur Emmett Burke first opened the doors to his namesake, Emmett’s, in 2013 on MacDougal St.
Now, the deep-dish specialist is expanding to Grove St. to appeal to more homesick Chicagoans and New Yorkers eager for a change in slice style. Just in time for comfort food season, the new restaurant has been Burke’s longtime goal and vision, who lives on the block — he had his eye on the space for 12 years.
The new elevated Italian-American classics menu will feature apps like two-day fermented House Focaccia, with an olive oil drizzle and Maldon salt, served as is or with prosciutto and burrata, Warm Olives or Emmett’s Classic Meatballs with a homemade Marinara Sauce, Parmesan and fresh basil. Entrées include Pappardelle Bolognese, Chicken Parmesan, Meatball and Spaghetti and a Dry Aged Burger topped with Russian dressing, white onions and pickle chips.
Staying true to his Midwestern roots, and a dish Emmett believes will be a challenger in the New York pizza game is his Tavern-style ($20) thin-crust or ‘Bar Pie.’ Sliced into party squares and shareable for larger groups (serves 2-3), the cracker-thin crust is a Chi-town staple, coming in three varietals: classic cheese, build-your-own or the signature ‘Hot Poppy’ with pepperoni, red onions, jalapeños, and a homemade paprika ranch dressing.
“There’s room at the table in the pizza game for Chicago Tavern style thin crust,” said Burke. “I always thought this style of pizza needed its representation, and we’re here to give it the spotlight.”
Other Windy City staples on the new menu include Baby Back Ribs ($32) and Twice Baked Potato with Cheddar, Sour Cream, Bacon and Chives. Friday Fish Fry (or American style fish and chips) available only on Fridays includes a meal of deep-battered fried fish, fries, coleslaw with a homemade tartar sauce as an homage to the Midwest tradition.
The beverage program will heavily focus on wines with a combination of Old-World Wines from Burke’s collection mixed with New Age Natural Wines. Drinks from the classicleaning cocktail program include the classic Grasshopper, a sweet, mint-flavored after-dinner drink that can double as a dessert and a Negroni Sbagliato Punch, a fizzy, ever-so-slightly lighter version of your favorite gin variation.
Translated to ‘mistaken’ in Italian, the birth of this delicious drink was an accident—keep the ratios the same but swap the gin for Prosecco or another bubbly and great for the immersive social imbibing experience. Designed himself, the new restaurant was modeled after Burke’s two favorite places—South of France and the North Woods of Wisconsin to provide a cozy yet refined space.
The ambiance will bring the essence of an intimate bar within the more expansive, 1600 square foot new restaurant. The juxtaposition of each room starts at the 20-seat bar with a marble countertop plus a salvaged 1930s Brunswick back bar. Following is the 55-seat main dining room with modern sconces to provide soft light throughout the space and reclaimed bowling alley booth nook seating.
With a goal to maintain a welcoming, homey neighborhood atmosphere, walk-ins are welcome at the bar as a place to gather and socialize with friends.
“Emmett’s on Grove will be the kind of place where strangers talk to each other at adjoining tables with the music covering everything from The Kinks to Alan Vega to Tom Petty to bring a little old school charm to the dining experience,” said Burke.