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Marty's Market, Emilia Romagna, and R Wine Cellar now open in the Strip District

A string of openings have come to the Strip District, including the new Italian restaurant Emilia Romagna; Marty's Market; and R Wine Cellar.

Marty's Market, a specialty food store and café, held a soft opening on Saturday, giving shoppers a glimpse of the new market that replaces the former Right By Nature at 2305 Smallman Street.

The market is one-third smaller than the former grocery store, and specializes in locally grown and organic foods. But Marty's seeks to distinguish itself as a unique retail experience, starting with design.

Renovations to the space include three glass garage doors--which open to the downtown skyline--two kitchen areas, and a coffee bar.  Owner Regina Koetters says transparency, from the kitchen to the street view, was a guiding principle in the market’s design.

Marty’s cafe, which seats up to 45, serves made-to-order meals from a menu that changes daily.  The cafe is also planned to serve as a community kitchen of sorts, with tastings and cooking demonstrations by local chefs and amateurs alike.

-  Just a few blocks away Emilia Romagna will celebrate its grand opening this Friday.  The restaurant is a project of Chef Jonathan Vlasic, of the Allentown restaurant Alla Famiglia, and Peters Township’s Arlecchino.

The menu features dishes inspired by those regions of Northern Italy, as well as popular dishes from the proprietors’ other two restaurants.

Located at 108 19th Street, the space will also introduce a new nightclub to the Strip--V Ultra Lounge--which will also open on Friday.  The lounge will occupy the building’s second floor and balcony, and will feature a limited menu of antipastas, burgers, and sushi.

The lounge and restaurant are a project of Vlasic, Vince Isolde, and Chef Cory Hughes.

R Wine Cellar has opened at 2014 Smallman Street, selling house-made wines.  The cellar, a family owned urban winery, currently has four reds and four whites available, including oaked and un-oaked Chardonnays.

Although juices are currently brought in from elsewhere, all wines are fermented, blended, and bottled on site.  And several wines are made using grapes from the Lake Erie Region, including the white Traminette ($12) and the Lake Erie Red ($13).

Owner Steve Russell says they chose this location because they wanted to be in the middle of the developing Strip District.

"We think the potential here in the future is very strong," he says.

Koetters agrees, and says it’s an exciting time to be part of the Strip District, and recognizes that each new businesses is a boon to the neighborhood.

“We’re fortunate to be enjoying a great time in the Strip,” she says.  “There’s a lot of stuff going on… [and] I want Marty’s to be a vehicle to encourage more investment in the Strip.”

Writer:  Andrew Moore
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