The joyful chants on hunger rang through Chase Avenue in Northside as we approached. "Meatballs! Meatballs!" the crowd rejoiced.

Once a month, the former location of Northslice Pizza transforms into a pop-up eatery: The Meatball Kitchen. The menu is simple: four kinds of meatballs, two sides, and cupcakes all priced for a meal under $10.00.

The Katz family, creators of Meatball Kitchen, wanted to offer a delicious meal that everyone in the neighborhood can afford. Delicious it is. I sampled a little bit of everything; each and every bite was out of this world.  Three regular meatballs are the traditional beef, turkey, and a fantastic vegetarian meatball made of spinach, black beans, brown rice, mushroom, walnuts, and an array of seasonings. There is also a specialty meatball that changes monthly. Last time it was a beef meatball stuffed full of bacon and cheddar.

Beef meatball sub

Broccoli salad with bacon cheddar meatball and vegetarian meatball

Seasonal sides include a crisp broccoli salad and a potato salad with roasted red pepper sauce instead of mayonnaise. Of course, the cupcakes stand out on their own and will even have those without a sweet tooth clambering for more.

Roasted red pepper potato salad
Strawberry Shortcake cupcakes

Apple Pie cupcake

While I rarely seek out a hoagie, I could see myself visiting Meatball Kitchen on a regular basis. The secret is in the sauce. Made with a wine reduction and a special blend of spices, their marinara rivals my favorite upscale restaurant, Scotti's, which is run by fourth generation Italians. With meatball sandwiches at $5.00 as well as sides and cupcakes for $2.00 each, never has anything so tasty been so affordable.

Originally from the Lower East Side, off of Delancey Street in New York City, the Katzes made the move to Cincinnati to follow their dream. With experience in the restaurant business, Dan Katz whipped up his famous meatballs and tried them out on the public through the pop-up kitchen. After hearing high praises, he decided to look for a permanent storefront, which will be opening in November on Short Vine in Clifton. Katz enlisted the help of his family for this venture: his wife Laura, a graphic designer, created branding for their restaurant, and his sister Tali, an interior designer based in Tel Aviv, Israel, is assisting with constructing the brick-and-mortar.

Dan and Laura Katz with their son

An understated food that over-delivers, the Meatball Kitchen is bringing a new fare with flare to Cincinnati.

The next pop-up restaurant will be hosted Wednesday, August 21 from 6:00-8:30PM.