Chef Michel Richard to Launch Quick Serve Specialty Meatball Shop in Penn Quarter – Meatballs

Back in Apr. ’11 I passed on some scuttlebutt that a specialty meatball shop would be launched in Penn Quarter. It turns out the specialty meatball shop, Meatballs, is being launched by none other than Chef Michel Richard of Central and Citronelle fame. Meatballs is going to be located in the retail space next to Luke’s Lobster Shack at 626 E St, NW (though the size is about 3-4 times bigger than Luke’s).

There will be 4-5 different meatballs with various sauces. Choices will include traditional, lamb, crab, fried chicken and vegetarian. You can get a Grinder (“wit or witout” meaning the grinder will be made with garlic bread or regular bread). You can also make your order with pasta or a salad. I’m told the bread has been sourced from “the single most exclusive baker in the country, made fresh for meatballs twice daily. The secret is the pillowy interior.” Sauces include traditional marinara, alfredo, morel mushroom and a special one that will rotate. Prices will range from $6.99-$9.99.

The shop will offer dine in and to go options. They also plan on offering delivery so stay tuned for the delivery radius. I stopped in last week and the build out looked nearly completed. They say the shop will likely open in about 2 weeks. I was lucky enough to try the lamb meatballs and all I can say is that those who live or work nearby Meatballs are very very lucky.

50 Comment

  • Meatballs? Really…meatballs!? Guess it really is the ‘end of days’. Everything has been done, and we’re down to this.

    • I have to say, I’m really tired of these gimmicky restaurants. Also, no one’s meatballs are as good as my Nonna’s.

    • HA!! Seriously! Meatballs?! The idea sounds like a parody…or at least one step away from being a headline in the Onion.

  • $10 meatballs are the new $5 cupcakes. So why can’t this second tier city get a gourmet grilled cheese eatery where I can order via iPhone?

  • It was a terrific movie, and I think it will make for an equally fine restaurant concept.

  • Agree with Jeff – Not sure why everyone is hating so much without giving it a shot. If it didn’t have Richard’s name on it, I bet half of you would be all for it.

    • I never said I wouldn’t try it. I’m sure I will and I’m sure it will be delicious. And I don’t even know who Michael Richard is… I’m so ironic.

      Seriously though – I did find the direct quote, ‘the single most exclusive baker in the country…’ to be a little over the top. I mean, really, how is that even possible? If the bread is made twice daily especially for this place then I presume the best baker on US-soil must be close, in which case I want to know who it is!

    • Can we just ban the whole stupid juvenile “hating on” and “haters” terms? No one is hating on a meatball restaurant – we are mocking it. Mercilessly. As it should be. It might still be great and successful – super. It will still always be a bit ridiculous.

  • MsNesbitt

    This sounds very similar to The Meatball Shop in NYC, which is delicious and, despite the fact that it only serves meatballs and various side dishes, the menu does not feel limited. Would I go there every day? No, but I would definitely incorporate it into my weekly lunch or quick dinner rotation.

    • I agree with MsNesbitt. I went to the Meatball Shop in NYC’s Lower East Side for the first time in late September. It was terrific. Several different meat combinations plus a variety of tasty sauces.

      • My thoughts exactly – the NY Meatball Shop is doing very well, and it’s about time we had one here (particularly if Michel Richard is all over it)!

  • is it April 1st?

  • “Wit?” What is this, Philadelphia? 😉

  • This sounds awesome.

  • This sounds amazing. Michel Richard quality for 10 bucks? Count me in — this may supplant Chinatown Express as my new pre-movie destination of choice. And there is a very narrow band of food destinations (although growing the last few years) around Penn Quarter between fast food chains and high end, so this is a welcome addition.

  • The Scotch Boutique will be opening next door in December.

  • Is this a joke? “Grindr”, “Meatballs” and “Alfredo Sauce” all in the same paragraph? Ay Dios Mio!

  • C’mon people. Don’t be anti-meatballists.

  • It’s a neat idea though I don’t see lasting more than a year or two in that high rent district. We’ve gentrified burgers and cupcakes and kickball and snowball fights so why not meatballs? A sociologist and psychologist could have a field day with our current crop of yuppies’ childhood fetishes.

    Still, as these silly trends go this one actually makes more sense. Getting good quality, well-prepared meat (assuming it is because Richard’s name is on it) downtown for $10? Not bad.

  • I’ve never cared for meatballs, but I can’t find anything to criticize about this.

    As long as their have been restaurants and street vendors, there have been establishments that specialized in doing one thing really well. It’s not anything new. Why the hate?

  • I mean is this any more ridiculous than a restaurant that happens to specialize in lobster rolls? Or one that specializes in burritos? Both of which are surviving well in that neighborhood.

    • No, they’re all ridiculous!

      I guess if you work around here you really have to be decisive about what kind of sandwich you want, so you know which direction to proceed in. Out here we only have a Quiznos so we have the luxury of making up our mind once we’re in the place.

    • i’m not seeing why it’s any more ridiculous than any other business in this world.

      • Same. In fact, I think the trend is in the opposite direction. You used to have to go to a butcher for meat, a bakery for bread, an Italian restaurant for pasta, etc.

        Now you can just go to any vaguely American-fusion-ish chain restaurant and have your choice of a burger or burrito or stir fry or whatever.

        There are also about ten million lunch places downtown that have sandwiches, salads, a Chinese buffet, sushi, etc. all in the same place.

  • Next: a restaurant that serves only chicken nuggets, tater tots, chocolate milk and little cups of Jello.

  • Meat fetish restaurants are just what the world needs. Jerks.

  • I happened to walk by there with a friend earlier today and a decorative graphic on an inside wall simply said “BALLS.” I sure hope they’re planning to add to that before they open.

  • Meatballs? Really?! Sounds like someone was watching ‘America’s Next Best Restaurant’ when it was suggested to have a ‘meatball’ restaurant called ‘Saucy Balls’.

    [The winner was SoulDaddy who opened 3 restaurants — one in NYC, one in LA, and one in Minnapolis/St. Paul at the Mall of America]

    For the record, I’ve eaten at the NYC SoulDaddy, and found it fair.

  • I heard the owner is the owner of MEATBALLS is also the owner of a steak-only place in Cleveland Park.

    Have you guys seen the sign? It’s a modern day version of what one saw in skid rows in NYC and probably other urban down-and-out neighborhoods on the pay-for-the-night hotels and bars – only this one is pink neon at night and it doesn’t flash on and off!

    I really feel sorry for the owner and tenant of the condo unit who has to go home to what must look like pink walls in his/her bedroom and living room. And even if they stop the neon, he/she can see only the sign looking up and down the street. I can’t imagine how they can sell the place without taking a big financial hit.

  • The owner/manager of the establishment did not make any attempt to contact the condo or the residents directly affected by this very tacky and huge sign.

    It is apparent that this business is not interested in being a “good neighbor” or even trying to be neighborly.

    For an added dash of tack, the front window is stenciled with the word “BALLS” in 3 feet letters and a small 4 inch stencil of the word “meat” above it.

    Real classy touch!

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