Marabella Meatball Co: Sometimes the Toughest Questions in Life Involve Picking Your Cheese

Only a week after the projected date, Marabella Meatball Co opened last Thursday on Walnut St, giving another option for anyone heading into nearby Cosi or Potbelly’s. Inside is a semi-open kitchen, big windows for people watching, and a simple minimalist design.  Here you pick your meatball type, the size of your sandwich, and a combo of sauce, cheese, and toppings (extra $). You can go for one of Marabella’s preapproved combos too. There really is something to the concept of sticking with one dish and having swappable toppings to go with it, you can do it right and you can get the product to the customer fast. It is actually kind of inhuman how fast they get your sandwiches to you. I easily spent more time deciding on what combo I wanted to go with. I think the fact that every cheese and sauce appealed to me that made the decision so hard.

I started with a very traditional traditional, beef meatballs with tomato sauce and piave vechio. The larger sandwich, called the traditional comes with 4 meatballs on a lightly toasted long roll. For $8.50 you get a cheese and a sauce for your meatball selection. The tomato sauce is made with meat, while the marinara is vegetarian friendly. I enjoyed the tomato sauce, there was a distinctive fresh tomato taste. The meatballs themselves are large and airy, it was hard to separate the taste of them from the cheeses and sauces that I tried with them.

The “smashed” sandwich is $6.75 and comes with 2 meatballs. It is safe to say that putting in the extra change is a better deal to double your meatball allotment. Pictured is the prosciutto, beef meatballs with aged provolone and a generous helping of prosciutto.

The threshold question if making your order is really deciding if you want hard cheese or melty cheese with your meatballs. You can’t go wrong with either. Pictured are beef meatballs with tomato sauce and fontina. The melty fontina dominates the sandwich, so the hard cheeses might be for you if that idea bothers you.

I tried to get a little creative and made up my own combo with beef meatballs, mushroom sauce and fontina. The mushroom sauce and fontina combine like they were made for each other. This is a great combo if you are not in the mood for tomato based sauce.

The pork olive is another step away from the traditional, the olive tapenade spread is intense and salty. I love olives and olive tapenade, so I enjoyed it, but I could see it could be a lot to handle.

The menu (and prices) at Marabella is the same throughout the day. As of now it is BYOB, so the idea of bringing a bottle of red and enjoying Marabella’s meatballs for dinner sounds like a great casual date. But for lunch purposes, paying almost $10 for a sandwich with no drink, or side is a little high. I recommend trying their meatballs out, but I just couldn’t justify making it a regular lunch stop just because of pricing. Maybe we can expect some kind of lunch special soon?

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • You can’t make a bad choice, all of the toppings, sauces, and cheeses are tasty
  • Super speedy service
  • If you don’t like beef, they got pork. If you don’t eat red meat, they have chicken meatballs. If you don’t eat animals, they have a vegetarian meatball

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

  • After tax, over $9 is a lot for just a sandwich
  • Some of the cheeses and toppings dominate the flavor of the meatball

Marabella Meatball Co., 1211 Walnut St (btw 12th and 13th  St), 215-238-1833



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