Meatballs keep looming as the next big thing, and now there's a new player to give the trend a nudge.
Called Meatball Kitchen, it's a concept that features meatballs, with a service model tailor-made for these COVID-19 times: It's a delivery-only restaurant, no dining room, serving up meatballs in a sandwich or with pasta.
Newly launched in Dallas, it follows the "virtual" or "ghost kitchen" model, where everything is prepped for takeout or delivery.
Meatball Kitchen was conceived by Dean Furbush, former CEO for FreshDirect, who has formed a national restaurant group called Kitchen to Kitchen, which will roll out other concepts as well, says spokesperson Ben Green.
"Meatballs are good because they're familiar, but we're doing something traditional with a little twist," he says. "It's also something we knew we could do well. Our No. 1 priority was creating a menu focused for delivery. We wanted to make sure the dishes will travel well and that, when it arrives, it is as perfect as when it leaves our kitchen."
Their menu is entirely customizable. You choose from five styles of meatballs and three sauces, which you can order over penne pasta, or in a meatball parmigiana sub sandwich, on crisp toasted ciabatta bread, with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
Meatball options include:
- Classic Beef & Pork Meatballs
- Turkey Calabrian Chili Meatballs
- Salmon Caper Meatballs
- Impossible (plant-based) Meatballs
Sauces include classic marinara, creamy vodka, or mushroom white wine, with an option to make it spicy.
They also do a signature Polenta Fries: Hand-cut, deep-fried, buttery polenta fries crispy on the outside, melt-in-your-mouth on the inside, served with a side of marinara for dipping.
Other sides include Spicy Green Beans tossed with bacon, chili, garlic, and caramelized shallots finished with lemon; and Arancini Mozz Tots, with risotto wrapped around a molten mozzarella center, served with creamy vodka sauce.
Pasta with meatballs is about $13, and the sub sandwich is $14, depending on your choice of meatball.
There's also an option to cook at home. They'll send you frozen meatballs, with sauce, pasta, and garlic bread, enough to feed four people.
The menu is compact, but Green says it can be customized in many ways. "And it's something we can continually innovate on," he says. That included having an option for non-meat eaters, the buzzy Impossible Foods product, with which they've seen success.
"The Classic is the best seller, but the Impossible meatballs have been very popular," he says. "They've been our second- or third-most popular item so far."
They currently have two locations: in Dallas' hip Bishop Arts District, and in Garland.
For their Garland location, they're operating out of Revolving Kitchen, a commercial kitchen facility that rents out space. Their second location in Bishop Arts is a partnership with The Local Oak restaurant at 409 N. Zang Blvd., with whom they're sharing kitchen space.
"Right now, we're delivering in a 5-mile radius from a given location, but eventually we'd love to be able to deliver everywhere in Dallas," he says.
That means adding more ghost kitchens across the Dallas area. "We want to complete the puzzle," he says.