Gemelli owner Clark Gilbert is a product of the Main Line, born and raised in Wynnewood. As a chef and restaurant owner, he operated Gimelli’s in Narbeth for more than a year. But Gilbert speaks frankly about the Main Line restaurant culture despite his roots.
“It’s quaint, but there’s not a lot of energy,” Gilbert says. Last Friday, Gilbert opened his relocated Gemelli restaurant at 4161 Main Street near Pensdale Street in Manayunk, replacing the former Mango Moon building. Gilbert says his frustration with the lack of decent dining in the Main Line area along with the allure of the larger space in Manayunk, with an additional 35 seats, motivated him to move. “There’s no reason why [Manayunk] shouldn’t be poised for a renaissance,” Gilbert says. And he’s embraced some of his neighboring businesses in Manayunk already, buying all of Gemelli’s bread directly from Agiato’s Bread Company a few steps down on Main Street. Gilbert says the Gemelli menu remains mostly the same as its previous incarnation, combining Italian and French cuisine with dishes like steak tartare with cockle vinaigrette, pig cheeks with parmesan polenta and artichoke and crab ravioli. “We give people food that they want to eat,” says Gilbert, who considers Gemelli an upscale causual neighborhood bar. “It’s all about treating the product properly.”