For a year Noah Talmatch has been working behind the scenes to create something Portlanders have never seen. “A fun, comfortable, inexpensive place that makes for a great date night.” Add killer meatballs, pizza, homemade pasta and cocktails for $8 to the list and The Portland Meatball Company should make a splash when it opens on Exchange Street Oct. 15.
As the owner of Timber Steakhouse next door, Talmatch knows about ambiance. But whereas Timber is elegant, his new eatery is rustic, fun and quirky.
“Portlanders are going to be wowed by this place,” he said, on a recent sneak peak of the former camera shop now painted electric yellow. “There is nothing like this in Maine.”
From old, antique car and truck doors fixed to the wall to vintage knick knacks everywhere, the newest food offering in the Port City says anything goes. But what about the grub?
Let’s talk balls. Five are offered daily. A beef, veal, pork meatball is the signature, savory duck comes next, veggie chickpea, roasted chicken and a daily special are sold as is or can be added to homemade pasta (you pick the sauce). Incorporate meatballs into salads, pressed sandwiches or open-faced baguettes.
“It’s fun, comfort food. Everybody does the same thing. The food here will be fantastic,” said Talmatch, who opened The North Point on Silver Street with his brother Dan a few years back. Meatball Co. is as cozy but a little less reserved.
Though the now-shuttered Hero couldn’t make it with the lunch crowd, Talmatch, a life-long restaurateur from NYC is undaunted. Rotisserie chicken shares menu real estate with New York style pizza (think large, foldable slices) and cuban and Vietnamese toasted baguettes. At happy hour, a free meatball will be offered with any libation like the Singapore sling ($7.50) and Sloe Gin Fizzy ($7.25).
The Portland Meatball Company is set up for take out or sit down service. And every entree is between $8 and $9. That’s right!.
“This is a nice lunch spot and at night it will be sexy, warm and intimate,” said Talmatch, who can serve 45 people in booths and along the bar. “This is my baby,” said the ebullient owner. “I love it.”
The Portland Meatball Co., 104 Exchange St., Portland.