"The Local Meatball," is the brainchild of Fairfield resident self-proclaimed meatball fanatic Michael DiStassio.
Using local ingredients, his grandmother's Old World recipe, a hot dog cart, and a Smart car, DiStassio has crafted a niche in Fairfield County based on a New York City-inspired idea.
He had visited the city one day and saw several popular, meatball-specific restaurants.
"It was an eye-opener -- meatballs supporting an entire restaurant," DiStassio told Patch.
He thought something like what he saw in New York could do well in Fairfield County, but on a smaller scale. DiStassio spent time in his grandmother's kitchen growing up and has served as a waiter in restaurants, but he did not have experience running a restaurant.
So he came up with the idea to create something mobile.
A food truck was too big, DiStassio said, but after doing research, a hot dog cart outfitted to cook meatballs seemed like the right fit. The cart is attached to a bright red Smart car.
"It's really easy to park and it's fuel efficient," DiStassio said of the Smart car. The Local Meatball's menu is based on DiStassio's grandmother's recipe, but there are a few variations.
Customers can order a Smashed Slider (one meatball, child-sized), the Average Joe (two meatballs), or the Grinder (three meatballs), in "Serious," the daily offering. "Serious" meatballs are made with ground beef from the Saugatuck Craft Butchery and are soaked in "traditional sauce."
Future special alterations include:
- Kick in Da -- made with tender local pork and hot cherry peppers, served in a chunky, spicy sauce;
- In the Buff -- fresh, ground chicken served in the Local Meatball's own buffalo sauce;
- Honey's -- a pork meatball served in a local honey barbecue sauce;
- Jewels -- salty and sweet "breakfast" meatballs made of ground beef, bacon and cheddar cheese, topped with maple syrup and served on a snowflake roll.
For now, check out the Local Meatball's Facebook page, Twitter account (@LocalMeatball), and website to keep track of the mobile meatball cart.
Since word got out via the Local Meatball's website and social media channels, "the response has been fantastic," DiStassio said. "It's crazy."
He's already booked for many weekends' worth of festivals and birthday parties.
"It's an overwhelming response and I haven't even officially gotten out yet," he said. "I've been very pleased. "