It’s not difficult to understand why meatballs are found across cultures. Seriously, meatballs are a true innovation when it comes to quick and easy meat consumption. Round balls of ground pork or beef flavored with spices and smothered in a delicious sauce? Yes, please. The faster they can get in my mouth, the better. Whenever I am on the Lower East Side and looking for a quick bite, I often find myself at this purveyor of the old classic meatball made new.
With The Meatball Shop‘s slogan “We Make Balls,” it’s hard not to snicker when patronizing this restaurant. At their flagship shop on Stanton Street, lines are often out the door for a menu that ranges from naked balls (my personal favorite) to the meatball smash. Choose the daily special or balls made from beef, spicy pork, chicken or vegetables, and match with a sauce like parmesan cream, mushroom gravy, spicy meat sauce, pesto, or classic tomato. Ready to go the whole nine yards? Check off ‘family jewels’ to have your balls topped with a fried egg. With plenty of delicious side dishes to pair or turning your meatball into a sandwich, pasta or salad, you can come here for a quick snack or make the outing into a hearty dinner. If you have enough room, devour one of The Meatball Shop’s house-made ice cream sandwiches.
Oh, and did I mention the prices? Rarely do you find a restaurant in Manhattan with main dishes under $10. Cheap eats, cheap booze, and food sourced from local farms? Yes, it does exist. Bonus: soak up the sun in their outside seating area during the warm spring and summer months.
With additional locations in the West Village, Chelsea, and Williamsburg, it’s easy to swing by this neighborhood favorite (if the wait isn’t too long).
Locations: 84 Stanton — 200 Ninth — 170 Bedford — 64 Greenwich