With a bathtub gin fountain as its centerpiece, Capo & Co, a 1920’s gangster speakeasy-themed bar and restaurant has opened in Emmaus. A ribbon cutting was held Thursday afternoon at the Chestnut St. Capo.
Owner Antonio Mannino had been operating the restaurant as Italiano Delight since he took over the property from its previous owner 13 years ago.
He is the landlord of the East Penn Plaza shopping center where the restaurant building was located but had more than 30 years of restaurant experience starting when he was a child making pizza at his family’s restaurant in his native Sicily. So, he decided to open his own restaurant.
However, he was looking to change the place up with a new look and concept and got inspired by a TV show.
“I was watching Bar Rescue about a bar in Las Vegas called Capo’s,” Mannino said. “I thought we needed something like this in the Lehigh Valley.”
He spent about three years developing and remodeling the property to become Capo & Co., making sure to keep with the 1920’s gangster theme, right down to buying a car made in 1925 that carries the restaurant’s logo, and authentic 20s-era décor items and old barrels to give the place the feel of an old-fashioned speakeasy.
Décor wasn’t the only big change. He converted the area where Italiano Delight used to house coolers for six-pack sales and replaced it with something unique in the Lehigh Valley.
He created “The Vault” where there is a wall of tap-your-own local microbrew beers that guests can tap for a $20 card that allows them to sample a number of different beers or buy the equivalent of about two pints of beer. There are also two selections of wine in the vault.
The menu still calls heavily on Italian cuisine, but with a couple of calls out to the theme such as a pizza called Gambino Pie and a Lucky’s steak.
There’s also a variety of sandwiches and appetizers on the menu.
Mannino said he thinks the Lehigh Valley will enjoy his high concept eatery.
“It’s a little bit different from anything around here,” he said.