The Meatball Shop's Daniel Holzman on the Upper East Side, Expansions

Also, they're keeping mum on the off-the-menu mac and cheese
Staff Writer

Jane Bruce

Last we heard of The Meatball Shop's burgeoning New York City empire, Chelsea was battling hourlong waits while the Upper East Side opening was pushed back from its expected opening in March. Luckily, the upcoming venture of meatballers Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow is still set to open on 1462 Second Ave. (at 77th Street) this summer "if the city cooperates," Holzman told The Daily Meal.

Chelsea's location just opened back in February, but, "We’re all in this go mode right now," Holzman said last night at's Rising Stars Gala. "There’s a lag after you open a store; after about two months people start to slow down and want a break, so we’re going to catch it right before the lag. We’re going to keep everybody running."

No talk of further expansion in the near future, however, although the chain does plan to stay local, Holzman says. "[After the Upper East Side] I am 100 percent officially going to take a break," he said. "When we opened up Bedford and Greenwich, we opened them up really close together and we promised ourselves we would never do that again... There's a good aspect because we get it all over with and it’s going to be fun and exciting, and then there's the frustration of, shucks that was probably a little bit more than we wanted to bite off."

So while Holzman plans to go to either Disneyland or Disney World after the Upper East Side craziness, there are always discussions of more Meatball Shops around the city. Where? We have yet to see. "What’s the ideal neighborhood today, it changes," Holzman said. "Every six months there’s a new piece of the puzzle. I remember a year ago discussing whether the Barclays Center was going to be a hit. Is the Barcalys Center really going to work? Do we really want to open up there? Now, obviously if we had made the choice a year ago we would’ve been sitting pretty."

The next happening neighborhood Holzman sees now? Long Island City. "I don’t think we would open a restaurant there right now but I think Long Island City is an awesome neighborhood," he said. "I really love that it’s close to the city; it offers a lot of the same benefits that Williamsburg does. There’s inexpesive rent and a lot of interesting people moving there."

In the meantime, we'll just have to comfort ourselves with some purportedly off-the-menu mac and cheese at all the locations. Holzman stayed mysterious about it, while Chernow mentioned some sort of "secret word" to tell the hostess. We might just try our luck and beg.

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