[UPDATE] No More Meatballs. Shop Closes Sunday.

Well, that didn’t last long.

The Meatball Shop — the Westport outpost of the New York-based restaurant that opened on June 22 — will serve its last balls on Sunday.

A hostess who answered the phone tonight laid the blame on “expensive rent and not enough customers.” She said the staff was informed yesterday.

The Meatball Shop took over from The ‘Port. That restaurant lasted 13 months — twice as long as The Meatball Shop. Before that, the ground floor of National Hall was home to Vespa. Before that, it was Cafe Zanghi.

It’s a wonderful space — but huge. Parking is tight.

On the other hand, 2 nearby restaurants — OKO and Bartaco — are flourishing.

There is no word on what will replace The Meatball Shop.

If anything.

The Meatball Shop in National Hall, just over the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge.

After this story was posted, Adam Rosenbaum — The Meatball Shop CEO and partner — emailed this statement:

Yes, we will be closing our Westport location after dinner service this Sunday, January 12th.

We have really loved being a part of the community, and have been so lucky to have built meaningful relationships over the past 6 months. Breaking bread with neighbors is what we are all about, and we felt like Westport was the next spot for us. Unfortunately, although it was a tough decision, we have a lot on our plate for 2020.

We are currently focused on a large re-branding, to evolve and grow into our second decade. Highlighting our delicious, responsible and sustainably sourced menu…and also add a few more dishes that we know our loyal guests will be excited about! (https://www.themeatballshop.com/news-item/dear-ballers/ )

This means making some tough decisions to focus our efforts on the NYC market locations, with a few more exciting things to come this year!

We hope that the Westport community, and all of Fairfield County, will follow along on the journey, and we hope to revisit Connecticut soon.

33 responses to “[UPDATE] No More Meatballs. Shop Closes Sunday.

  1. Alexis Senoski

    Bummer. What about a French Bistro like Balthazar? We don’t have anything like it, but seems like it could be a good fit. And good brunch!

  2. Miriam Young

    Yes! Something with a family brunch!

  3. Maybe even a downtown branch of Staples High School. Ya think?

  4. Bummer. You forgot it was Miramar between Vespa and Zanghi!

  5. Seth Goltzer

    Shocked it lasted as long as it did….

  6. Elissa Moses

    Sad news. Food was good. Perhaps the space is just too big and should be divided into two restaurants.

  7. Rip meatball shop

  8. Valerie Ann Leff

    I’m not sorry to see it close. The menu was weird and food not very good.

    Rive Bistro is already a wonderful French Bistro just down the street.

    What Westport needs is a restaurant like1010 Post in Darien, or Elm Street Oyster Bar in Greenwich. That restaurant group is fabulous and casual, with an extensive menu.

  9. How did a place with tortured parking, mundane food and a name like “Meat Ball” expect to survive….who would want to go there?

  10. Thank you, Miramar was really lovely and had a beautiful seasonal menu. It had a nice run too.

  11. Maya Porrino

    That’s too bad. Their food was excellent. I went there recently with my family and we could tell their days were numbered by the lack of clientele. After living in Westport for a year and a half, I’ve realized that Westporters are very fickle about supporting local businesses, but I’m not sure why.

    As far as the space goes, it is really a beautiful building in an excellent location. I’d love to see it become a community space. With free wifi and comfy seating and couches. Coffee, smoothies, snacks, even cocktails. A free library of donated books, puzzles, and games. A play space for small children. And rotating displays of locally made art. But I’m not sure any business can overcome the lack of convenient parking for this car dependent town we live in.

    • Maya, having lived in Westport for a significant portion of the past 50+ years, I’m not sure it’s accurate to characterize Westporters as being fickle with respect to supporting local businesses. There are a number, including restaurants, that have been around a long time. Arezzo, which is across the street with seemingly worse parking, has been around for a while.

      Judging by the turnover in the Meatballs space, maybe the rent makes it hard to have a successful restaurant there and incoming establishments underestimate the amount of business they will generate to cover the rent.

      In any case, we have been repeat customers for many years at Rive Bistro. You should check that out if you haven’t been there.

      • Thank you Fred. I haven’t been yet, so I will definitely check out Rive Bistro 🙂

  12. Bob Weingarten

    For J. Wandres: In 1884 when Staples was opened on Riverside Avenue, the school used the top floor of National Hall as a temporary location for the first year. So they, Staples, would be moving back to its roots.

  13. joshua stein

    We thought about going to Meat Ball shop probably a dozen times since they opened but with just meat balls on the menu, it was not appealing to me. Sure it would have been nice for an appetizer or two but IMO they needed some additional options, even some parms like chicken, veal, etc, would’ve gotten me in the door.

  14. Jennie Pickering

    the embalming supply factory used to be next door….should do a riff on that for next venture ! 🙂

  15. It really is unfortunate the MBS is closing. My sister and had lunch there on numerous occasions only once leaving dissatisfied with the service. The menu offered something a little different which was nice, staff was always on point (though we have our favorites) and it really is a beautiful space. Size and parking are definitely a deterrent to potential patrons. My one and only personal complaint (and I think some may agree) I do not want to hear explicit, loud, any kind of music let alone urban rap while I’m having lunch or trying to relax with an after work cocktail. I understand there is a time and place for every kind of music but it would seem the cross roads of Stepford are not the right fit.

    • Ineke Van Wijngaarden

      I would love to see a nice, upscale, plant-based, vegetarian, vegan restaurant in Westport.
      In a town like Westport that could do very well I think, with all the great chefs in town I am surprised nobody has done that yet.

  16. Parking is a huge problem for that space. Until that issue is solved, I am not sure how another restaurant there can be successful.

    • I would say it’s a “perceived” parking problem, rather than an actual one. There is a parking garage literally (okay, diagonally) across the street. Think how far you’d walk in New York, Boston or another city from a parking lot to a restaurant. Yet here in Westport, people won’t walk less than a city block.

    • what is the parking problem? plenty of parking in that area!

      • I agree with Josh and Dan. There is a garage across the street on Wilton Rd. And for the more hearty there is always Parker Harding across the Bridge. Both spaces require a 1 minute walk. If there is another restaurant occupant, they may think about Valet Parking for those unwilling or unable to walk a short distance. I do not believe it is a parking problem. It is a large space and needs something very special to draw and persevere .
        In addition, parking anywhere in the downtown area is really not a problem if one is willing to take a one or two block walk.
        Pat Porio

  17. Antonia Propper

    I bet a branch of ‘Barcelona’ would do really well there…and it would be nextdoor to its sister restaurant Bar Taco…