Play ball: One Meatball Place gears up

Most of the time we leave the weather forecasting up to the meteorologists, but this week, Dish feels pretty comfortable issuing a prediction for West Main Street only: Cloudy with a near 100 percent chance of meatballs. That's because One Meatball Place, under the direction of chef and general manager Valentino Bolling, was just days away from opening when Dish stopped by on Monday, August 27.


"We're riding a wave," says Bolling, noting that the inspiration for the eatery at 513 W. Main, is inspired by The Meatball Shop in New York City. That concept store, Bolling says, has also inspired meatballeries in other major metropolises including Philadelphia and Atlanta. With a few last-minute details still to be worked out, he was cautious about giving an exact opening day, but was certain it would be this week.


The space– located adjacent to Charlottesville's new pho restaurant– is light-filled, with a gleaming tin tray ceiling and exposed brick along the wall. The bar is equipped with two flatscreen TVs, promising sports lovers and newshounds a fix. With only days to go, the kitchen is busy as staff accept deliveries and prepare to welcome the first customers.

Bolling promises these won't be average meatballs like the ones mom tossed into the Ragu. Instead, visitors to One Meatball Place will choose the type of meatball– beef, pork, chicken, salmon– or a vegan option, then select the toppings, which range from traditional marinara to spicy green chili.

Other menu options are made-in-house falafel, pizza, and salads.

Bolling's certainly got the cooking chops to make a mean meatball. A native of Amherst County, he spent time in Palm Beach working as a personal chef to the rich and famous including stints for famed designer Vera Wang and then-New York Governor George Pataki. Locally, he worked as head chef at the Keswick Club in the 1990s before launching his own catering business.

One Meatball Place will be open for lunch and dinner every day but Tuesday, with late night hours on Friday and Saturday.

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Thats got to be one big rent payment. Debbie Downer gives it a couple years.

A wave in a city of 8,000,000 tends to be a bit more rideable than a wave in a town of 45,000.

But how authentic are these meatballs?

the wave is a hacky bit

Unlike the generous Honeycomb, I predict this place will shutter in 6-11 months.

NYC, Philly and Atlanta have the population base to sustain something like this, not C-ville.

Oh, and "Vegan" meatballs? That's precious. C-ville's wannabe hipsters will just wet themselves in excitement with all this post-modern food irony.

I do feel bad for the owner, though. He may feel obliged to sing "On Top of Spaghetti" when the lights finally go out.

Wow to the commenters...mean spirited folks with too much free time and little grasp of other people's dreams or passions.

I think we should actually try the restaurant before we condemn it... looking forward to another food option in Charlottesville. Good luck to the owner!

Kudos, Chef Val! I'll check you out the next time I'm up.
Wishing you all the best.

It is an interesting concept. I will certainly give it a try.