The Baller Meatball Ball-Off: Franco’s Pizzeria Italiana

Achievement: #22. Meatball Ball-Off

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new frontrunner!

Franco's Meatball
We took a trip last week down to Castle Shannon to check out Franco’s Pizzeria Italiana, and man, were we impressed.

How baller is this joint? Lemme put it to you this way:

Franco's Meatball
That’s their slogan. And their website is literally

With branding so brazen, this place set a high bar for itself. I’m happy to say that Franco’s not only reached that bar; it leapt over the thing like Mario over the flag pole.

Franco's Meatball
We ordered a couple pizza slices and a pair of balls each. While we waited, our server brought out to us a couple crostini with ricotta, sweet red pepper, and a little Parmesan sprinkled on top. Boom! Baller.

Franco's Meatball
The rest of our food came out together, but let’s start with the pizza, which was mushroom and pancetta. I tell you what, if we’d known about this place when we did the Pizza-lympics last year, the medals might have been handed out differently. It was that good. And what’s more? When it came out, the co-owner, Daniel, checked on us and stated, “This is where the folks who work at the other pizza shops around here come to eat.” To that, sir, I say, “Baller.”

Franco's Meatball
Lastly, we come to the meatballs. Let’s review our ball-notes.

1) Size — Gigantic! Look at those massive meaty orbs! These balls need to be served in a bowl, because no cup could hold them.
2) Flavor — The meat held up really well, not allowing itself to be overwhelmed by the sauce. It was super-savory, with a nice touch of basil to it as well.
3) Sauce — Just right. It was light and zesty, with just enough to put some on every bite. It was an accompaniment; the meatballs weren’t swimming in it.
4) Presentation — It’s perfectly unfussy. There’s nothing extraneous to dress it up; the food is allowed to speak for itself, served in a classic home-cooking style.
5) Ballerness — Oh, Franco’s, how dost thou ball? SO. DAMN. HARD. As in, next time I see my nephew I’m going to read him a copy of Cloudy With a Chance of Franco’s. As in, these balls ball so hard that if this place doesn’t end up winning the Ball-Off, Kanye’s gonna come and egg my house.

Seriously, I’m not sure how this place can be topped. Scratch that; based on the scoring, it can’t be topped. Because Franco’s has earned the first perfect score we’ve ever given out, across all of our various food-offs. The best the remaining meatball offerings can do is tie for 1st. 5.0 out of 5 for Franco’s; if you’re not eating there, you’ve made a GOB Bluth-sized mistake.

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Filed under #22, #22-15, italian food, meat, meatballs, pizza, south hills

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