Sinking ground under Emporio in Pine forces closure - PineCreek Journal

Sinking ground under Emporio in Pine forces closure

Monday, December 30, 2019 | 12:01 AM

A gourmet meatball restaurant in Pine was closed Monday after officials discovered the ground beneath the building was sinking.

Dennis Blackwell, the attorney for Emporio: A Meatball Joint, said the decision to close was made for the safety of customers and staff.

“We just decided to close it immediately, temporarily, until we can figure out what’s going on,” Blackwell said. “We have an engineering company out there looking at it, some experts taking a look at it. “

The restaurant is located in the Village at Pine shopping mall. A spokesman for Gigliotti Properties, which developed the mall, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

“We figured we better close this for safety reasons until we can get some sort of dialogue with the landlord,” Blackwell said.

Blackwell said the restaurant itself isn’t sinking, but that it appears the “engineered fill that is beneath the building has settled.

“From Route 19 up to where this is, they put in a bunch of dirt. It’s all fill; it’s not virgin soil. When you put it in, you have to compact it to a proper density. That doesn’t appear that it was done, but we don’t know that for certain,” Blackwell said.

“The floor could collapse inside the building where our space is. I can’t speak for any other space. What if there’s a gas line tied to it and it falls? You could have an explosion. I don’t know. Any horrible thing could happen.”

Blackwell couldn’t say when the restaurant will reopen.

“We got to talk to the landlord and see how quickly they can get in there and get it fixed,” he said.