Fans of Graffiti Social Kitchen and Cork & Cleaver were saddened when brothers-in-law Brian Okin and Adam Bostwick closed their popular restaurants earlier this year. But the duo is keeping the ball rolling at Polpetta. The Rocky River spot, set to open Sept. 5, features up to 12 varieties of meatballs and 20 sauces. We talked to Bostwick about stepping into a whole new ballgame.
Why a meatball?
When I’m creating a dish or creating food, I like to take something that is a memory or something you’ve had before and add my own touch to it. With a meatball, every person throughout life has had a meatball at some point made by their mom, their grandma, their father — somebody made them. If you’re Lebanese, there might be something different in there, or [if you’re] Asian there might be a different version of it. So there’s all these cultures, and you start messing with it and work with that. So we’re taking something you’re used to and completely flipping it around.
Why did it make sense for you to do this now?
The trend in food is going to such a casual dining experience, and I think a lot of people are looking for fun creative outlets. Doing Cork & Cleaver, doing Graffiti — we had to be the face of the place. Every day we had to be at those places, you see our faces, you see that I’m behind the stove cooking. This concept lends itself to us being a little more free.
Where are you hoping to go from here?
Our goal is in a few years to have three or four locations all over the place, kind of along the lines of Melt, Barrio or Happy Dog, where you can take the concept and put it anywhere because it’s something that people like. I always have this little dream in my head that it’ll be at Progressive Field one day in one of the little food stalls. I imagine a little helmet flipped upside down, filled with meatballs.