Think back to the best meal you’ve ever had. You might not remember what music was playing in the background or the color scheme on the table setting but you will surely remember two things: what you ate and who you ate it with.
A meal at The Meatball Stoppe is no different. In fact, the idea that food is the center of family and that it has the power to bring loved ones together is the backbone of the restaurant’s mission. Co-owners Jeff and Isabella Morgia have even made the business a family affair. The couple combined his 40-plus-year knowledge of the corporate food industry and her personal experience with managing mom-and-pop restaurants (Isabella’s parents owned Orlando favorite, Sorrento’s, for 18 years) to create a smart brand with structure and consistency, and also with dishes that taste like they came straight from your grandmother’s recipe book.
“The inspiration behind everything we do is authenticity, uniqueness, family and community,” Jeff says. Chef Isabella adds, “Customers say, ‘You’ve taken me back to my Nonna’s kitchen.’ Or ‘Oh my gosh, this sauce tastes just like how my grandmother and mother used to make it.’ It takes them back to a wonderful place that makes them feel good.”
Located in East Orlando, in a small shopping plaza on the corner of Goldenrod and Lake Underhill Roads, The Meatball Stoppe invites customers to “stoppe” by and experience the excitement, warmth and traditions of Jeff and Isabella. With about 20 seats inside, the restaurant is cozy – just like your grandmother’s kitchen. Also similar is that every item on the menu is made by The Meatball Stoppe team, not a factory. That’s 10 meatballs, five sauces and five sides, all made from scratch daily.
Chef Isabella learned everything she knows about cooking the old fashioned way: by learning at home. “My father was hunting, my Nonna would clean it, and [she] literally made everything from scratch,” she says. “That’s how I learned all the wonderful things I know today.”
She passionately describes The Meatball Stoppe as a non-traditional, traditional Italian restaurant, meaning you can have your choice of an authentic Italian dish or an unconventional Italian-inspired meal. “The whole concept is: choose your meatballs, choose your sauce and choose your sides,” Chef Isabella says. “You can have literally any meatball with any sauce on top of any side.” The meal is also served with a small Shoppe Salad of arugula, tomatoes, red onions, corn and feta cheese that is dressed with red wine vinaigrette, as well as a square of focaccia bread for dipping.
Whether you choose the popular Nonna’s Traditional Italian meatball with roasted tomato sauce and penne pasta or the Chicken Marsala meatball over white bean ragout, you will be able to taste the love in the food. The menu’s newest addition, the buffalo chicken meatball, was inspired by the students at the University of Central Florida. Served as the Knights Buffalo Smash, this unique take on a meatball sub puts an Italian twist on an American classic. The spicy buffalo sauce and tangy bleu cheese crumbles that are smothered on top of a tender chicken meatball is easily soaked into the soft center of the ciabatta bread, which also offers a nice crunch on the outside.
You can mix and match the options on Meatball Madness Monday and Wednesday, or Trio Tuesday and Thursday. And since The Meatball Stoppe treats its customers like family, extra deals are offered occasionally on the restaurant’s Facebook page. Special discounts are always on the table for local law enforcement, fire fighters, Florida Hospital employees, Orlando Health System employees, military members and all Central Florida college students with ID.
While the restaurant is the heart of The Meatball Stoppe brand, Jeff and Isabella also offer a variety of niche services. There is a full-service catering company that supplies the same delicious food (and other traditional Italian dishes) for special events and even for offices through the corporate delivery program. The brand also offers premier dining experiences where Chef Isabella prepares an authentic five-course meal in a client’s home, and personal chef services that include home delivery of nutritious meals that are customized for the client’s dietary needs. Chef Isabella also hosts private cooking classes at The Meatball Stoppe and other locations throughout Central Florida and the United States. The Morgias travel the country to serve The Meatball Stoppe’s corporate clients with many of these niche services.
Whether you’re stopping in for a meal or inquiring about The Meatball Stoppe’s niche services, you will be welcomed with open arms into the meatball famiglia.
THE MEATBALL SHOPPE 7325 Lake Underhill Road | 407-270-6505 | themeatballshoppe.com