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When I visited the first location of Hey Meatball (@TeamHeyMeatball) two years ago when they first opened, I left feeling incredibly underwhelmed and disappointed. In fact, I was so disappointed I didn’t even end up writing about my experience. Fast forward over two years and a visit to their new Leslieville location has definitely changed my mind.

The interior

The Hey Meatball restaurants (the original is located in Little Italy and they also have a kid-friendly spin off called “Hey” in Roncesvalles) are brought to you by Rodney Bowers (@rodneybowers). His resume includes experience working with some well-known chefs including Lynn Crawford and Thomas Henkelmann. He also previously owned the Rosebud, the Citizen and the Kane Social which were sold before he opened Hey Meatball.

The interior

Located at Queen and Logan, this location also features cafeteria-style service like the original spot. You pay for your food at the cashier, have a seat at one of the communal tables and wait for your order to be called. Oh and you better bring money – they’re cash only.

The menu

Upon entering the restaurant, we were greeted by friendly staff who were happy to explain the menu to us. Their menu features four types of meatballs – chicken, beef, pork and vegan. You can either eat them in sandwich form or plated with a side (spaghetti, rigatoni, mashed potato, polenta, risotto or mac & cheese).

Since I didn’t have the greatest experience at the original location with their pasta options, I opted for a sandwich, The Rodfather – 3 pork balls, bolo sauce, pesto parm cheese on a ciabatta bun ($12). Saucy and messy but oh-so-delicious. It was quite hard to eat since the generous saucing of the sandwich quickly soaks into the bread and the balls have a tendency to roll out of the sandwich. It probably would’ve been more civilized to eat with a knife and fork but the place was empty so who was I trying to impress?

The Rodfather

The pork balls themselves were pretty darn tasty. They were packed full of flavour and not too dense. The sandwich was a good size – I managed to wolf this down all by myself… although some may think it’s on the small side for a $12 sandwich).

All the sandwiches come with a chopped salad which I quite enjoyed. It’s definitely better than the usual sad mixed greens you get as a side salad. This one had chopped cauliflower, cucumbers, red cabbage, pickled onions and was lightly dressed with a house vinaigrette.

The Rodfather

Mike opted for The Burger Ball – 3 beef balls on a soft roll with aioli, lettuce, cheese and pickles ($12). It certainly tasted like a burger and I loved the addition of the smoked gouda (at least that’s what we thought it was). While I enjoyed the pork balls in the Rodfather more, overall, I preferred this sandwich.

The Burger Ball

Hey Meatball offers a selection of house-made sodas including orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, cream and ginger. We decided to go with the Grapefruit Soda ($3) which certainly hit the spot.

Grapefruit Soda

I was a little hesitant when Mike suggested Hey Meatball for lunch given my previous experience but I guess this just proves that everyone deserves a second chance! With their satisfying sandwiches, you can bet we’ll be back!

At a glance:
• Brought to you by Rodney Bowers (formerly of the Rosebud and the Citizen)
• Located at Queen and Logan; Original location is on College in Little Italy; the kid-focused spinoff is located in Roncesvalles
• Cafeteria-style – pay at the counter and wait for your order to be called
• Communal seating; great for take-out
• Cash only
• Open everyday for lunch and dinner (brunch on weekends)
• Enjoyed the Rodfather and Burger Ball sandwiches

Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4 stars
• Service: N/A
• Atmosphere: 2 stars

Hey Meatball on Urbanspoon

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