Talk of “balls” in Brooklyn
by Katherine Kurre
Jul 13, 2011 | 4992 views | 0 0 comments | 78 78 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From left, General Manager Michael Chernow, Executive Chef Daniel Holzman and Borough President Marty Markowitz holding bowls of meatballs.
From left, General Manager Michael Chernow, Executive Chef Daniel Holzman and Borough President Marty Markowitz holding bowls of meatballs.
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz visited a new meatball restaurant in Williamsburg on July 11 to get in touch with his Italian family roots.

Markowitz recognized the day as the Meatball Shop Grand Opening Proclamation Day in honor of the shop’s co-owners Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow.

This is the second restaurant that General Manager Chernow and Executive Chef Holzman are opening together, their first being the original Meatball Shop in Manhattan. Markowitz said that the Manhattan location had just been a trial run; practice for their Williamsburg restaurant.

Markowitz said restaurants provide jobs and are good for the Brooklyn economy. The Meatball Shop also helps “reinforce Brooklyn being one of the culinary centers of the world,” he said.

The opening of the Meatball Shop thrilled him since it depicts “young people who are building their futures” and becoming entrepreneurs doing things they love in Brooklyn, he said.

But “they’ve taken it to another level. My grandmother would've never thought to make meatballs the way they do,” Markowitz said.

There was also talk of Jewish heritage at the opening. “[Chef] Dan’s great aunt even cooked Kosher meatballs on Passover,” Chernow said.

Both Holzman and Chernow said that these meatballs are extremely different from the ones that most people grew up eating. Their meatball flavors include spicy pork and veggie that can be topped with varying sauces such as mushroom and classic tomato.

Upon deciding to open a restaurant, the co-owners wanted to focus in on a single-concept food item. Meatballs seemed to be the obvious choice since they both grew up eating them, they said.

Despite them coming in varying flavors, the meatballs at the new restaurant remain true to the classic two-ounce shape and size, the owners said. Their meatballs can be served hero-style on baguettes, on Brioche buns or in a bowl with Focaccia bread on the side.

Meatballs are “fun and accessible,” Chernow said.

“They are a great vessel to showcase Dan’s culinary skills,” he added.

Holzman, the chef, said meatballs are his favorite things to cook.

“However,” he said, “I enjoy eating the vegetable side dishes the most.”

The pair said another reason why they opened a meatball shop is because of the innuendo that’s minds when they hear the term “balls.”

"I think ‘balls’ in general tend to be a funny topic," Chernow said. “When we would sit down for a meatball night, people would just laugh from the beginning of the night to the end of the night over ‘balls.’"

The pair celebrates the humor on The Meatball Shop’s website, where there is a list of “ball jokes,”which are separated into the “clean jokes” and the “dirty jokes.” The menu is filled with names such as “Naked Balls” and “Family Jewels.”

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