|Pandolfi's Deli makes a memorable meatball sub.|
National food-trend expert Nancy Kruse sees meatballs in a whole new way
lately: "Familiar and comforting to patrons," Kruse writes in Nation's Restaurant News
, "[meatballs] often provide a sense of fun -- a nostalgic quality that makes customers smile.... And their winning combination of low food cost and high customer satisfaction makes everybody happy."
It's true that a big, juicy meatball, whether tucked into a grinder sandwich or perched on top of a bowl of pasta, can make for a filling meal. Cheap, too!
I'm all for meatballs if they're not too dry or, conversely, undercooked. And after reading Kruse's paean to the beef balls, I'm craving them myself. Here are a few hot options for a cold, post-blizzard day:
- The creation of artist Stretch Rumaner, Grinders puts out a solid meatball product. There are six delicious meatballs in this restaurant's meatball grinder sandwich. It costs nearly eight bucks, but you may not have to eat again for the rest of the day. And, yes, Grinders is open for business today.
- The fried meatball appetizer at Next Door Pizza includes a little bowl of rich, slightly sweet marinara and Roma bread. The balls are slightly crisp and crunchy on the exterior, satisfyingly moist inside. An order costs about six bucks. It's open and serving those fried balls right now.
- The Spino family at Anthony's on Grand has been making great meatballs for decades. The two big balls on their meatball sandwich -- it goes for eight bucks -- are smothered in one of the best slow-simmered sugos in the city. It's also open today.
- Jonathan Bender swears by the meatball submarine -- on bread from Le Monde Bakery -- that's sold at Pandolfi's Deli in Columbus Park.