At the Meatball Street Brawl III, meatballs are king. We’re talking about a celebration of epic proportions, featuring 19 area restaurants that all have something in common – they all pride themselves on making some of the best meatballs in Buffalo. But in the end, there can only be one. Actually, there can be a couple, because there are a lot of different types of meatballs, with different cuts of meats, spice levels, textures, sizes, and the lot.
Every year, Osteria 166 puts together the Meatball Street Brawl, so that restaurant contestants can demonstrate their abilities to prepare the perfect meatball. Attendees to the festival get to try some of the best meatballs in town, while celebrity judges do their tasting rounds as well. In the end, the most popular meatball slingers wind up on top. Last year, This Little Pig was the talk of the festival – the restaurant walked away with Best Overall Meatball and Best Freestyle Meatball.
Last year, more than 1,700 people came out to soak up Buffalo’s sauciest new food-centric event.
“Meatball Street Brawl is a Buffalo event through and through,” said Nick Pitillo, Osteria 166 owner. “It’s part street party, part food competition and all about coming together, having fun and supporting some great causes. I think that’s why the event has taken off like it has. But, don’t get me wrong – the restaurants definitely want to win and show up our friends a little bit.”
The 2018 Meatball Street Brawl challengers are: Amici Ristorante, Bada Bing, Belsito, Bobby J’s, Cabaret, Canal Club 62, Chocolate Bar, D-Tour Martini Bar, Deep South Taco, Finnerty’s Tap Room, Frankie Primo +39, Marco’s, Molinaro’s, Osteria 166, Patria, Ristorante Lombardo, Siena, Tempo, and This Little Pig.
“It’s still amazing to think about,” Pitillo said. “The whole idea started with some friendly trash talk between me and some other local restaurants. The first year, we didn’t know what to expect, and we had more than 1,000 people out on West Mohawk Street on a drizzly Sunday. Now, it’s like a family tradition for the restaurants and our customers – everybody looks forward to this day every year.”
Since its arrival onto the festival scene, Meatball Street Brawl has managed to raise $30,000 for local charities. In 2018, proceeds from the event will benefit the Make A Wish Foundation, Meals on Wheels Foundation of Western New York, and the Michael Donald Perry Fund at the Response to Love Center. The festival committee has also set out to establish opportunities for students who want to advance themselves in the culinary field. They have done this by creating a Hospitality Scholarship Fund for the New York State Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.
Now, it’s time to do some serious meatball tasting, beer and wine drinking, cupcake eating, and football viewing – the Bills vs Ravens season opener game will be shown on a big screen at the festival!
Meatball Street Brawl III will take place on West Mohawk Street between Delaware and Franklin, starting at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, September 9, 2018.
Tickets for Meatball Street Brawl III are available for $15 pre-sale or $20 on the day of the event. Pre-sale tickets can be purchased at any of the participating restaurants or online at meatballstreetbrawl.com.
Lead image courtesy Osteria 166