This is the first time I’ve reviewed the Meatball Stoppe. I did, however, review a place called the Meatball Shoppe when it first opened nearly six years ago in, not so coincidentally, the same location.
They are, of course, the same business owned by the same people, Isabella and Jeff Morgia, the whole time. What happened, I’m guessing, is that someone else who owned the rights to the name Meatball Shoppe found out about the new Orlando restaurant and had a lawyer send one of those cheery little letters telling the Morgias to stop. So Stoppe they did.
Over the years, the restaurant has gotten more appreciated attention, including being featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, though it really isn’t any of those.
One thing seems to have changed since my review in January 2015: The original assemblage concept has been eased a bit. You no longer have to pick one from column A and one from column B. But the quality of the food has remained the same, which is quite good.
The only big decisions today are what type of meatball to order – there are about 15 kinds – but the M. Shoppe eases that choice by offering samplers of the various varieties.
I went with the Stoppe Trio, which allowed me to choose three (duh) meatballs and a side. The house Stoppe salad and a square of focaccia were included. I went with the chicken Buffalo bleu, the spicy pork, and sausage meatballs with a side of white bean ragu. The chicken ball was had the flavors of a Buffalo chicken wing without the danger of choking on a bone. The pork was spicy as promised, and each of the meatballs had a different texture. The white bean ragu was sort of like having a cup of pasta e fagioli without the pasta. The salad had fresh greens, chopped cherry tomatoes, roasted corn tossed in a sweet vinaigrette and topped with a sprinkling of cheese.
For the Meatball Smash I selected the Nonna’s traditional Italian meatballs (it comes with two but you have to choose the same flavor), which are served on a fresh ciabatta roll with sauce and melted cheese. A more classic style of meatball and the one I think I preferred overall.
For a non-balled entree, I selected the shrimp over polenta, and I was pleased with my choice. There were about 10 medium-sized shrimp, nicely sauteed with a tinge of garlic, served on a ploof of creamy polenta. The shrimp were tender-firm, and the inclusion of the Stoppe salad and focaccia made this a filling meal.
The Meatball Stoppe has an online ordering system that allows for future pickup times and prepayment, including leaving a tip. There was no curbside pickup option, but my food was ready for me just inside the door for minimal indoors time.