Your First Look at the Food Trend Collision That is Donatella’s Meatball Wagon

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In what may ultimately prove to be one of the tastiest shark-jumping moments in the high-end street food trend, fancy Italian restaurant Mia Dona (on 58th St btw. 2+3rd) has entered the fray. As reported last week, “Donatella’s Meatball Wagon” opened for business on Friday, and will be serving lunch Monday through Friday from a shiny red cart in front of the restaurant from Noon to 2pm.

Fad or not, meatballs are God’s food and I had to have it, even if it meant delving into the snootiest corner of midtown to get them. Details and photos after the jump.

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The meatballs are served with either a spicy or a mild tomato sauce on their own for $5 or as a sandwich for $6. The sandwich encases four medium sized meatballs between a pair of thick pieces of grilled focaccia with a melted slice of caciocavallo cheese and a sprinkling of romano. There’s also some arugula or sprouts or some such on there, so you know it’s healthy.

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I went with the spicy sandwich and loved it. The sauce, made with heirloom habaneros, gives a kick that builds, but never gets too intense. The hardcore pepper fiends will not be impressed, but that’s not really the point.


The meatballs themselves are subtle and taste of the herbs that go into them. They also have a tenderness that approaches the verge of being mushy, but not quite.

Although they have cheese and sauce and meatballs, it would be a mistake to compare them to a meatball parm from the local slice joint. What I’m saying is, it’s not nearly as big as other sandwiches you can get for the same price, but it’s really, really good. And as a bonus, you won’t need the nap and antacid that most slice joint sandwiches tend to require. Also, did I mention the focaccia? Yum.


I ate the sandwich sitting on the bench across from the cart and watched as the staff worked out a couple of the kinks in the service. There were some problems with speed and communication in the ordering, but that’s all first day jitters and should work itself out pretty well. Once they have the routine down, I’ll definitely make another trip up there to get some more.

THE + (What people who like this place would say)

  • Finally a decent lunch in the Upper East corner of Midtown.
  • Meatballs are God’s food and I’ll go anywhere to eat them and I don’t care how fashionable it is.
  • I want a meatball sandwich that’s not going to leave me curled up under my desk for the rest of the day.

The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • I didn’t need or want a reason to go to the Upper East corner of Midtown.
  • Oy, with the fads. Can we get over it already? Let’s act like high food and low food don’t know each other.
  • For $6, I want a meatball hero the size of my arm and the nap to go with it.

Donatella’s Meatball Wagon, 206 E. 58th (btw. 2+3rd), 212-750-8170


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