WICKER PARK — Mondo Meatball, a restaurant specializing in meatballs that will also offer pasta side dishes, is replacing a shuttered Italian eatery along Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park.
"Every food culture has their version of a meatball; we will be the first to do an all meatball restaurant and bar concept, introducing people to a mix and match of different styles," said Dean Casagrande, owner of Mondo Meatball, 1467 N. Milwaukee Ave.
A Lincoln Park resident and advertising executive, Casagrande bought the lease and existing business from Azzurra EnoTavola, which closed last month.
Mondo means world in Italian, so Casagrande said he was envisioning a "meatballs of the world" theme in the menu, with offerings like a Korean pork meatball and a Swedish meatball in gravy.
Alisa Hauser says these won't be your typical toothpick meatballs:
There could also be a chicken-and-bacon meatball with guacamole salsa, Casagrande said.
Meatballs can be topped with a mix and match of sauces and will be served alone, or on top of salads as well as in sandwiches.
Casagrande, a first-time restaurateur, said he was bringing the concept to Wicker Park with established business partners who own other bars and restaurants and will work with him to appoint a general manager and a head chef.
Mondo Meatball will use family recipes from Casagrande's grandmother and mother, who trace their roots to the Pulio region in southeast Italy.
When asked if the meatballs were intended to be eaten with a particular utensil, such as a toothpick, Casagrande said the meatballs, which will be "golf ball sized," were meant to be tackled with a knife and fork.
On the beverage side, Mondo Meatball will offer craft beers, cocktails and Cinzano, a popular Italian aperitif, Casagrande said.
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