Birmingham's new 'meatball cafe' is another sign of the nation's meatball awakening


Meatball sliders at Polpetta. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Meatball sliders at Polpetta.

The lizard people might be in charge of the country, but it's not all bad news in America — we're also in the midst of a full on meatball awakening.

While meatballs have yet to the reach the level of hipness that their flat cousin, bacon, has achieved years ago, young chefs have elevated the former beyond something that's only pulled out of a stainless steel box and plopped on a Subway six inch.

And why not? When done right, meatballs are more than their name implies. They are airy, tender, melt-in-your mouth spheres of meaty goodness speckled with onion, garlic, parsley, etc.

And the folks at Birmingham's Brooklyn Pizza suspect that the love affair with meatballs is such that it can support an entire restaurant dedicated to the dish. Thus they opened Polpetta Meatball Cafe.

It's a bold idea, and the menu is certainly worth a look, featuring beef, pork, chicken, and vegetarian meatball sliders that are offered with sides like Israeli cauliflower, Egyptian termes, salads, and more.

“Meatballs have become popular and trendy on both the east and west coast in the last few years. In creating the menu for Polpetta I turned to my Italian mother-in-law for inspiration and help with the meatball recipes," says owner Sam Abdelfatah.

The 1,400-square-foot space at 126 South Old Woodward just south of Maple launched on Feb. 1, but is holding its official grand opening celebration - a fundraiser for Birmingham Public Schools - on March 19. Check out for more info.