General Question

elbanditoroso's avatar

Are restaurant meatballs hand shaped or machine shaped?

Asked by elbanditoroso (29527points) 1 week ago

I’m talking about a mom & pop Italian restaurant, not a chain restaurant – I’m pretty sure that corporate restaurants are using machine-shaped meatballs.

Is a local restaurant likely to buy their meatballs frozen in large bags? Or more likely to grind, season, and shape the meat themselves?

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8 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I think it can go either way. I was in Vermont several years ago and ate at a local Italian restaurant. On the way out I saw a man come out of the kitchen dressed as a chef and asked him if he was the owner. He replied, “yes,” and looked at me as if he was worried about what I was about to say. I said, “You make the best meatballs I have ever tasted!” He practically hugged me, he grabbed my hands and said thank you, and was overflowing, and then proceeded to tell me some of his tricks for making the meatballs. I’m confident he made everything from scratch.

Note: The most important part of the tip was to broil the meatballs before putting them in the sauce. Up until then I always cooked the meatballs in a frying pan, but now I always broil them.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

It depends, I had a friend in high school his family had two Italian restaurants. They used his grandmother’s recipe for meatballs – - ground beef, veal and pork. The used milk soaked bread and had “Secret” spices but had Parmesan cheese in the meatballs. Not all do that. But cost wise it is cheaper doing from scratch.

katiesunrise's avatar

It can be either. That’s when it becomes fun, or tedious, to find the restaurant that does it right.

Zaku's avatar

Good restaurants should make them themselves, I’d say. I’ve been making them at home, and it’s not hard.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Depends on the restaurant. Mom and Pops’ don’t necessarily equal quality or craftsmanship.

Strauss's avatar

I worked in a mom-&-pop type Italian restaurant in the 1980’s. Everything except the pasta was done from scratch. We baked our own bread in the wood-fired oven, made pizza dough from scratch, made all of our sauces from scratch. We made meatballs about three times a week, from scratch by hand.

Smashley's avatar

Chain or not, fresh meatballs are not guaranteed.

A small place might make them fresh, or they might have cut that particular corner for cost and convenience. A large chain might ship them in, or they might make them fresh. It depends on a lot of business decisions, and I’ve seen both ways.

Darth_Algar's avatar

I’ve seen mom ‘n pops that would have laughed you out of the place if you’d asked about freshly made.

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