Grub Street Timeline: The Month We Went Mad for Meatballs

L'asso's meatballs.
L’asso’s meatballs. Photo: Joel Barhamand

Boy, was the New York Food & Wine Festival prescient in throwing a Meatball Madness event this year (by the way, a tweet from festival organizer Lee Schrager indicates that as of yesterday, only 90 tickets were left, and the Burger Bash is sold out). Last month saw some item of meatball news coming over the transom pretty much every other day — and that’s just what Grub Street managed to cover. Obviously, meatballs are nothing new — it was two years ago that the Lee Brothers wrote a trend piece for the Times about the “expanding meatball universe,” in which they put the “dawn of meatball enlightenment” at 2002, when ápizz started serving ricotta-and-Parmigiano-stuffed veal, beef, and pork balls. That piece came out in June — is that just the month for meatballs? Anyway, there’s no doubt last month marked a new wave. Just take a look at our timeline.

June 2 Bklyn Larder opens, serving veal meatballs.

June 2 We get our first look at Enoteca on Court’s menu: $5 veal meatballs in tomato ragù!

June 8 Acquedolci opens, serving $8 meatball Parmigiana.

June 9 L’asso unleashes meatballs (based on a recipe passed down by owner Rob Benevenga’s mother’s recipe). You can get them on pizza, in pasta, or in an $8 lunch sandwich. Days later, the kitchen starts testing fried meatballs.

June 9 Spina opens, serving $6 meatballs in tomato sauce.

June 9 Vera Wang is spotted wolfing down meatballs at Patsy’s.

June 12 Bar 675 expands its menu to include meatballs.

June 14 Tickets for the New York City Food & Wine Festival’s Meatball Madness event go on sale. Will it be as spectacular as the Battle of the Balls?

June 16 Campo’s chef David Rotter takes advantage of the Chopped limelight to show off his culinary versatility — via meatball sliders.

June 16 Sora Lella adds a bar menu featuring — what else — meatballs.

June 17 ’wichcraft’s Bryant Park pop-up opens, serving a meatball sandwich in honor of New York.

June 17 Grandma Rose’s opens in Williamsburg. On the menu: meatballs made with beef, pork, and veal (vegetarians can opt for eggplant balls).

June 23 Alexandra Guarnaschelli demos messy meatball sliders at Summer in the City. A sign she’ll be adding them to the menu at Butter? Or are Locande Verde’s lamb-meatball sliders the last word?

June 29 Elettaria launches its tiki night. Lamb meatballs and hurricanes!

June 30 On Gus & Gabriel’s opening menu: A $13.95 Meatball “Parmigiano,” a hero of sautéed onion and bell pepper, provolone, mozzarella, tomato, and spaghetti.

Phew. Now let’s pat ourselves on the backs for getting through the month without any “balls” jokes.

Grub Street Timeline: The Month We Went Mad for Meatballs