Chef Holzman carves out meatball niche in NYC

Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:08am EDT
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Daniel Holzman is planning to open meatball eateries in New York, a niche he helped to create in a city that's mad for hamburgers.

The 32-year-old chef and his long-time friend Michael Chernow opened The Meatball Shop more than a year ago. They now sell 2,000 of their meaty creations smothered in a variety of sauces each day.

The New York City native spoke to Reuters about his passion for meatballs and why they are a universal food.

Q: How did you come up the idea for the restaurant?

A: "The meatball concept came when I was sitting with my partner (Chernow) at the restaurant he was working at before and eating a bowl of their meatballs, rigatoni and sausage in this sauce. He would always order it but without the rigatoni because he didn't want to eat the carbohydrate late at night when he was getting off work as a bartender. Eating this meatball reminded me of Italy when eating them was the main course, the prized course, the star of the meal."

Q: Are you surprised how quickly you are expanding?

A: "When we originally talked about this concept, we had talked about let's make this restaurant as simple as possible with the eye toward that if we are lucky, we could expand. I was always thinking three years, four years down the road if it goes really, really well. The fun thing about this restaurant that's so crazy for me is that it's so simple, it kind of works. When it works, there are not so many moving parts to constantly keep track of."

Q: What do you think it's the key to its success?   Continued...

<p>Chef Daniel Holzman is seen in this undated handout photo. REUTERS/Handout/The Meatball Shop</p>