Meatballs make me happy. They’re a comfort food, a version of which can be found in nearly every cuisine. Saucy, savory and satisfying. And when you base a menu entirely off these Sunday supper staples, you’re on to something. Enter Polpetta at Porco.
Friends and fans of Porco Lounge have long loved the potent drinks and party atmosphere of the Tiki Room. But until now, they’ve only offered things like nachos and tacos for food at the W. 25th St. location. Now Stefan Was (of Porco), Brian Okin and Adam Bostwick (of Cork & Cleaver and Graffiti Social Kitchens and Dinner in the Dark) have teamed up to bring a fully functioning kitchen in to the kitschy place.
Bostwick tells me he’d been thinking about the concept of a meatball menu for sometime, thinking primarily about a food truck, initially. But during their recent trip to New York City, to cook at the James Beard House (see previous post, Cleveland Chefs take New York) they dined at The Meatball Shop. The idea was reignited, and Bostwick says they spent the entire drive home talking about meatballs. That’s a conversation I want in on.
The concept was fast tracked when they decided to combine forces with Porco for their first location. (no need for a complete build out, only the addition for some shiny new kitchen equipment) The menu is fast casual, kind of like the ones you see at Barrio, Noodlecat or Happy Dog. Pick a meat, pick a sauce, pick a side. All of their meatballs are gluten free, and they even offer a vegan variety.
They soft opened on Monday, and will be expanding daily, Bostwick says. Polpetta will always exist in Porco, but the plan going forward will be to establish more of the chef-driven concept in other locations. With the captive audience that already flocks to Porco, they’ll establish their following, then spread their flavors, and balls to other parts of town. Chef Bostwick says there isn’t a food you can’t convert into some kind of “ball.” So I can’t wait to see the creative concepts and fusions they generate at Polpetta. The scratch kitchen is open Monday-Thursday 5pm-Midnight Friday and Saturday 4pm-1:30am.
It should be noted that I wrote this entire post without making any “balls” puns. Tough to do. But ownership says there are plenty already being “tossed” around in the first few days of operation. They’re even thinking about starting a book with all the balls jokes that customers come up with. Bostwick says food should be fun, and I agree. 🙂