Restauranteur Stefano Fabbri has several balls in the air.
From three Pomo Pizzeria locations – in Scottsdale, Phoenix and Gilbert – to Luna Gelateria in Scottsdale and Mora Italian in Phoenix, the founder and chairman of Pomo Restaurant Group shows no signs of slowing down.
Now, the Rimini, Italy native, is just days away from opening up his latest restaurant, Meat the Ball, a meatball-centric restaurant in northern Scottsdale that, as his restaurant do, tap into his Italian roots.
“I got the inspiration in 2014, after I visited my friend’s restaurant The Meatball in Milan, Italy,” Fabbri told the Progress. “Due to the fact Pomo’s No. 1 seller, besides the pizza, was our meatballs [the polpette], I then wanted to study the art of meatballs.”
Meat the Ball will host a grand opening with city of Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane on Nov. 7, at 4 p.m. in the Scottsdale Promenade.
The ribbon-cutting celebration will feature passed bites, live music and more.
“We already own a restaurant in Scottsdale, Pomo Pizzeria, and we do very good business there, so we decided to open another concept,” Fabbri said of choosing Scottsdale as Meat the Ball’s home. “Scottsdale has a great restaurant scene, and we are excited to be part of it.”
Meat the Ball emphasizes responsibly sourced meats without hormones, antibiotics, or GMOs.
Fabbri partnered with Arcadia Meat Market and Mary’s Organic Chicken for organic meat and grass-fed beef.
“We are sourcing the best possible products we can find,” Fabbri said. “One thing you can do to have the best meatball is have the best ingredients.”
Meat the Ball’s signature item on the menu is the Classica meatball, which is also found in three different sections of the menu – under “Have A Ball,” in the Spaghetti Meatballs pasta dish, and in the Meatball Hero sandwich.
The meatball is made with Arcadia Meat Market beef and pork, “rolled with love,” paired with Meat the Ball’s homemade bread called Grana Padano and marinated for eight hours in the restaurant’s house-made sauce.
“I personally like it because it’s classic; my Mama and Nonna made classic meatballs every Sunday in Italy growing up,” Fabbri said.
Balls, pastas, and sandwiches aside, the Meat the Ball menu also has salads, “Baller Plates,” like the Flanker, which has grass fed beef braised overnight with gravy, creamy polenta, and roasted baby carrots; and eight different Pinsa Romana dishes from which to choose.
“We are excited to introduce a brand-new dish called the Pinsa Romana, which is a light-style focaccia that actually pre-dates the pizza,” Fabbri said. “It is made with three types of flours and has a 72-hour levitation to give it a high digestibility.”
Diners can choose from the following flavors: marinara, Paradiso with prosciutto cotto, inferno with hot soppressata, cacio and Pepe, with mozzarella and pecorino Romano, patate with baked sliced potato, rosa with mushrooms and pink sauce, crudo with mascarpone cream and black fig, and salsiccia with local Italian sausage.
Meat the Ball’s menu also has three vegan options, five gluten-free options and 15 vegetarian options – including the Flower, a vegan and gluten-free roasted cauliflower ball dish with spiced tomato and curry sauce over curried broccoli rice.
“Our pastas are also hand-crafted daily for freshness and lighter style sauces. How we cook the items with the ingredients and make each plate nicely balanced with colors also complement the restaurant interior,” Fabbri said.
Meat the Ball is a 1,500 square-foot full-service, retro-themed eatery with bar seating, a large pet-friendly outdoor patio, and a colorful pop-art tile wall.
For Meat the Ball’s design, Fabbri said he was inspired by the Aperol bottle.
“I like mid-century, and our interior design has comic inspiration on the walls. Inspiration of the color and design came from the Aperol bottle, which inspired me to have a young, colorful restaurant,” he said.
Meat the Ball even has an Aperol cocktail appropriately called the AperBall Spritz.
“The name Meat the Ball is a fun name; it’s sort of a joke. We are not just meatballs,” Fabbri said.