Last week brought a glimpse of the balls-centric and neon pink signage for Penn Quarter's forthcoming Meatballs. Now it's time for a look inside the newest venture from French chef Michel Richard, who also talked to Eater about his plans for the menu as well as his hope to make a franchise out of Meatballs. And although the restaurant appears nearly complete, Richard says the opening date is still two weeks out.
Design-wise, the first thing to note is that the focus on the balls carries through: a brick wall is painted with the logo adorning the front window (which bears the word "meat" in tiny print and "balls" in very large print) and employees will wear shirts emblazoned with the logo as well. Further, below the counter they're keeping jars filled with balls of all sorts — golf balls, gum balls, fake eye balls and more. Beyond balls, the restaurant is also going to be an homage to its creator. Black-and-white photographs of Michel Richard will line the red wall opposite the line, while the chef's line of cookware will decorate the red wall to your right as you enter Meatballs.
The team is going to be making the meatballs in another location and delivering them to the restaurant every morning, where employees will steam and serve them atop grinders and salads, as has been noted. And Richard adds that they're going to be using a vegetable puree to moisten the balls rather than fat so that "it won't make you fat." There will also be meatball specials, such as turkey meatballs for Thanksgiving. Also, there will be ice cream.
But why make the meatballs in another location? For better franchising opportunities, of course. Richard explains: "And the good thing is it's a small place without chef. A restaurant without a chef. I even pushed myself out. No job for Michel Richard. What we're going to try to do with the Meatballs, we hoped it would be a great franchise." So take heart, commenter who expressed dismay that Penn Quarter was the new home to Meatballs. If all goes well, it just might turn up elsewhere in DC, too.