Hey Meatball!, to catch a sneak peek. The door opens, and Bowers puts his head outside. “Did you see any babes?” he jokes. It wasn’t the first thing we expected him to say, but no, we hadn’t. We were too busy dreaming of meatballs.

">

Meet the meatballs: Rodney Bowers’ new joint (complete with a food truck) set to open in Little Italy


Published:

It’s Monday morning in Little Italy, and we’re waiting outside Rodney Bowers’ soon-to-open restaurant, Hey Meatball!, to catch a sneak peek. The door opens, and Bowers puts his head outside. “Did you see any babes?” he jokes. It wasn’t the first thing we expected him to say, but no, we hadn’t. We were too busy dreaming of meatballs.

Once inside, Bowers tells us part of his inspiration for opening up a 30-seat restaurant on this section of College Street. “Little Italy,” he says, “is coming back with a vengeance.” It’s hard to argue with him. No longer a source of generic Italian fare and little else, the neighbourhood has seen a number of great new eateries opening up as of late: Frank’s Kitchen, Acadia and, just south of College, Woodlot, to name a few. Now, Bowers — whose previous ventures included The Rosebud and The Citizen — is adding his culinary prowess to the mix. His new restaurant is set to open next week.

Bowers has spent most of his career in fine dining; working long, stressful hours and trying to maintain the highest standard of quality for hundreds of different items. With the new venture, he’s funneling just about all of his energy into two-ounce globules of meat.

“People are starting to understand that doing one thing well is a huge key to success,” he says, referring to the proliferation of item-specific restaurants like Porchetta and Co. and WVRST. “It's a lot easier to maintain consistency.”

Anchoring the menu is, of course, a selection of meatballs: beef, pork, chicken, veggie and a seasonally-influenced rotating special (Thanksgiving, for example, could see a turkey meatball with stuffing and cranberry sauce). All of the meat will be ground in–house and sourced from hormone free, cruelty-free and additive-free suppliers like Rowe Farms. And, in an effort to stay health conscious, the meatballs won’t be fried — they’ll be braised in chicken stock (or, for the vegetarians, veggie stock).

As a nod to the various incarnations of meatballs found around the world, Hey Meatball! will offer an array of sides and sauces, like house-made pasta (Italy), mashed potatoes (Sweden), hoisin and Sriracha sauce (Asia), salad (Turkey) and more. The ordering process is simple: choose a meatball, choose a sauce and choose a side. Prices haven’t been set yet, but Bowers estimates less than $10 for a three-meatball dish. Or, go with a sandwich: a slider (one meatball), “the crusher” (two meatballs) and “the hero” (four meatballs).

Bowers is aiming to open as a lunch, dinner and late-night destination (it’ll stay open until 3 a.m. Thurs-Sat.; 11:30 p.m. Sun-Wed). Keep an eye out for other house-made specialties, too, like soda and ice cream. He’s also got a food truck and a liquor license in the works. In the future, he’d like to see other Hey Meatball! restaurants popping up around the city.

“I want it to appeal to everyone,” he says. “College students, construction workers and families.”

And, we presume, babes.

General Manager Kyle Brown (L) and Owner Rodney Bowers (R)

Hey Meatball!, 719 College Street, 416-546-1483

Edit Module

Join the conversation and have your say by commenting below. Our comment system uses a Facebook plugin. Please note that you'll have to turn off some ad-blockers in order to see the comments.

Edit Module

Follow us on Twitter @PostCity for more on what to eat, where to shop and what to do in Toronto.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

Gourmet à gogo: Hit the road this long weekend for two culinary gems east of Toronto

Gourmet à gogo: Hit the road this long weekend for two culinary gems east of Toronto

Temperatures are high, and come the weekend, Torontonians are keen to become country dwellers. But this doesn’t mean that palates have to suffer. Herewith are two amazing food experiences to check out while you’re on the road.
Posted 11 hours ago
First Look: Lbs., a new lobster-centric restaurant at Yonge and Adelaide

First Look: Lbs., a new lobster-centric restaurant at Yonge and Adelaide

Lbs. is looking to democratize lobster to the masses while maintaining a high-end dining experience.
Posted 1 day ago
An L.A. import in Parkdale and Doug McNish are turning vegan food into the hottest grub in town

An L.A. import in Parkdale and Doug McNish are turning vegan food into the hottest grub in town

Last year’s Toronto Vegan Food and Drink fest first intro’d locals to the resto, and since day one, the narrow space has been packed. Outside, hordes of cool kids in vegan (and real) leather jackets lounge, waiting for the two-hour queue to dissipate.
Posted 2 days ago
First Look: Dirty Bird lands in the Annex

First Look: Dirty Bird lands in the Annex

Kensington Market staple The Dirty Bird has opened a new outpost. The new location at Bloor and Bathurst can seat 29, which is nearly double the size of their previous spot.
Posted 3 days ago
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleEdit Module