Polpetta Moves Up and Out of Porco Lounge to Brick and Mortar in Rocky River


“We’re moving the Polpetta concept out of Porco and to a brick and mortar, which has been the goal all along,” says chef Brian Okin. “We used Porco as a means to present the concept to the city and for us to work out the recipes.”

Polpetta is a joint venture from the folks at Cork and Cleaver and Porco Lounge. A lease was signed yesterday for the space most recently home to River Dog Cafe (19900 Detroit Rd.) in Rocky River. (That concept now lives on as popular food truck.) The plaza, near Wooster Road, also is home to Bomba Tacos.

The concept, in play at Porco Lounge for just over a year, was inspired by a trip to New York, says Okin, when he and colleagues visited the Meatball Shop on the Lower East Side.

“I was blown away by how obvious and simple and great the concept was and the fact that there was nothing even remotely like this in Cleveland,” the chef reports. “I thought to do something like that in Cleveland – not their exact concept, but to be inspired by it and do something based off of it – would be an awesome idea.”

When it opens in June, Polpetta will be casual full-service restaurant and bar that will seat between 70 and 100 guests. As for the menu, it’s pretty straightforward, adds Okin.

“It’s your basic build-your-own setup where you pick your ball, pick your sauce, pick your side.”

Okin says that diners can expect between eight and 12 varieties of meatball on the menu at any given time that range from vegan to “full-blown carnivore.”
Sauces include pomodoro, mushroom gravy, parmesan cream and pesto. Sides might feature braised Italian greens, creamy polenta, mashed potatoes or rigatoni. Meatballs can be ordered on their own, as sliders or in large sandwiches. Salads and appetizers will round out the roster.

Because the Porco team is involved, guests can also expect “world-class cocktails,” Okin notes. While it won’t be “Porco 2.0,” he adds, you might run into a tiki drink or two at some point. There will also be beer and wine.

Going forward, Porco Lounge will always feature a meatball as part of its “gloriously eclectic set of theme nights across the week,” but it won’t be the main event.

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