Daniel started his cooking career at the age of 15 at Le Bernardin in New York City and remained there for 4 years until, at the suggestion of chef Eric Ripert, he attended the Culinary Institute of America with a full scholarship from the James Beard Foundation. Prior to graduation, Daniel accepted a position at the soon-to-open Palladin in New York City under chef Jean-Louis Palladin and worked alongside such culinary notables as Wylie Dufresne and Sam Mason. Six months later, Jean-Louis asked Daniel if he would be willing to move to Las Vegas, NV, to fill a vacancy at his flagship restaurant, Napa, in the Rio Hotel. Accepting the offer, Daniel began what would ultimately become a 10-year culinary journey through some of the West Coast’s finest restaurants including The Campton Place, The Fifth Floor, Aqua and Jardinière. Daniel stepped into his first management role as chef of the organic bistro, Axe, in Venice, Los Angeles. After a year at Axe, Daniel accepted the position of executive chef at the Inn of the Seventh Ray, a 250-seat restaurant in the Topanga hills.
In 2010, Daniel returned to his hometown of New York City to team up with his childhood friend Michael Chernow and debut The Meatball Shop in New York City's Lower East Side. The mix-and-match menu of meatballs, served in a warm and convivial environment, was an instant hit. Four more locations of The Meatball Shop—in Williamsburg, the West Village, Chelsea and the Upper East Side—opened in quick succession. Daniel also co-authored The Meatball Shop Cookbook, which was published to much acclaim in 2011.
Daniel has appeared in countless broadcast segments including ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC’s TODAY Show, Chelsea Lately, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and VH1’s Big Morning Buzz. Additionally, he has been featured in an array of widely reaching local and national publications such as The New York Times, Food & Wine, Saveur, People, Food Network Magazine and GQ.
Michael Chernow began his professional restaurant career in 1996 behind the bar of the popular nightclub, Life, on Bleecker Street in New York City.
Learning from the ground up, Michael quickly worked his way through the ranks becoming the youngest bartender on staff. After 2 years working in both Life in New York and in its East Hampton sister club, The Tavern, Michael signed on to open Woo Lae Oak on Mercer St. in New York City.
In 2001 Michael made the move to Los Angeles where he worked at Woo Lae Oak’s original location on La Cienega Blvd. Returning to New York, he opened Punch and Judy, a wine bar on Clinton Street. In 2002 Frank Prizanzano offered Michael a position behind the bar of his eponymous flagship restaurant Frank on Second Avenue.
For seven years Michael managed the bar at Frank where he has a large, loyal following. In 2007 Michael enrolled in French Culinary Institute, graduated with honors, and was awarded an Associates Degree in both culinary arts and restaurant management in 2008.
Alex describes himself as a man that wears many different hats. He has worked in the service industry for 15 years from Maryland to Colorado and back to NYC.
Often times you can find him dancing around the shops and keeping the energy level high. His signature move is the "scarecrow." Swing through the WV to catch a glimpse of this dancing machine.
I migrated to the United States of America from Guyana in 2007, and was enrolled in Franklin K. Lane High School in Brooklyn, New York. It was at Franklin
K. Lane where I developed an interest in culinary arts. A teacher who recognized this passion introduced me to C-CAP (careers through culinary programs).
I competed in C-CAP's cooking competition during my junior year in high school. In my senior year I trained for Solo, which I won, along with a Scholarship Fund.
Despite my desire to acquire higher education, I decided to enter the work force. With the assistance of C-CAP, I found employment with The Meatball Shop at its Lower East Side Shop.
I’ve been working with The Meatball Shop since 2010 and have worked my way up to a Sous Chef at the Chelsea Shop. I also completed a 9-month program at the International Culinary Center and graduated with honors in 2012.
Once an aspiring psychologist, Matt discovered his true passion when he started bartending while attending Seton Hall University. He went on to become Director of Events and maitre d at one of New Jersey's finest catering establishments, helping people celebrate weddings, mitzvah and many other milestones. He always thought he might want to give managing restaurants a try, and once he made the jump, he was hooked. A longtime fan, he is thrilled to be a member of The Meatball Shop team.
Natural-born Baller Gigi comes to the meatball game with 10+ years of event and restaurant management. She's worked in all spectrums of the hospitality field; from jumping on communal tables at beer halls to white linen do-not-speak-until-spoken-to fine dining, and all within the concrete jungle. The stories she has in her pocket are the makings of an unbelievable coffee-table book. So make sure you drop by with your phone in-hand and a smile on your face to take that BALLS picture with her because let's face it, who doesn't like BALLS in their life?
From the BK (and we don't mean Brooklyn) to an iconic NoHo Café, Rusty has served every role there is in a restaurant. He cooks, he cleans, sets a mean mise en place and most importantly loves to be surrounded by the buzz of happy people sharing a good meal. This man loves to dine almost as much as he loves football (a lot!) so TMS is already feeling like a well-worn fitted hat. He's got an unmistakable southern accent and old-fashioned sensibilities, but there's no denying his ten years in Brooklyn have added a bit salt and vinegar.
I was raised in the suburbs of Detroit and studied hospitality business at Michigan State University. I have worked at a hotel and a bed and breakfast in Colorado and a barbecue joint in Chicago. I was eventually persuaded to hop onto a Mega Bus and move to New York to continue my hospitality career. Before joining the meatball team, I was on the streets of the Flatiron District selling tacos and burritos and then decided to suit up and manage at the MoMA Cafes when it started getting cold outside. If you don’t see me at The Meatball Shop, you can probably find me on the streets looking lost.
A native New Yorker, Brandon was raised in the Hudson Valley and has been living in NYC for the last year.
After his first job at the age of 14, dotting on little old ladies at the local diner, Brandon couldn't get enough of the food service and hospitality industry.
Spending the last 15 years, working almost every position in restaurants, Brandon is excited for this next chapter with The Meatball Shop.
"I'm originally from Ocala, Fl. At the age of 18 I joined the US Navy. My enlistment took me from a life of poverty to seeing some of the most beautiful and inspiring places on earth.
I believe being on the other side of the world gave me a better understanding of the world as a whole. After my military service, I returned home and worked at different restaurants, not really knowing what I wanted to do as a career, but knowing I wanted to always to meet new people.
I took a job as a line cook in Atlanta, Georgia which in two years set me on a path to management. I love restaurant life. I love knowing that people are coming out to have a good time and I will play a role in it."
Born in Mexico, raised in Queens, NY, Ana is a lousy dancer / singer. She loves to bike and enjoys an occasional run to explore the world. Corny by nature and easily bribed with gummy bears. Reading under the shade at Bryant Park is one of her favorite past times.
Food and wine is an obsession of hers, as you can often find her twiddling away on Google for the next place to fill her various cravings.
She was born to eat meatballs and be part of the global force of the hospitality biz, and she does both in the name of awesomeness!
When she is not balling at TMS, she can be found in her home sweet home enjoying quality time with her family.
Born in Queens and raised in Brooklyn, Angel fostered an interest in the culinary arts during high school, which offered a C-CAP sponsored cooking program. Recognizing an early passion for the field, Angel proceeded to enter C-CAP’s cooking competition, earning scholarship money that provided him with the opportunity to enroll in college. In addition to financial support, C-CAP assisted Angel in applying for schools and, with the organization’s help, he was accepted and enrolled in SUNY Delhi. The summer before college, Angel interned at New York City’s BLT Prime, where he got a taste of life in a restaurant kitchen. After a semester at school, yearning for the excitement of the kitchen, Angel decided to return to New York City. With support from C-CAP, Angel found a full time job with The Meatball Shop on New York City’s Lower East Side. Working his way from a back-ups position, Angel is now the chef of the Chelsea Shop. Angel lives with his wife and one-year-old daughter in Queens.
Hailing from New England, Richie has always a huge passsion for all things food and drink!!
Born in 1985 Richie knew his place in life was in a restaurant and it was soon seen by everyone around him. He started young, from asking for a new frying pan for his 5th birthday to making dinner and serving his family at the dinner table as if it was his very own restaurant At 14 he started working in a prep kitchen of a theme park by his childhood home. In the years since he has worked his way up increasing his knowledge and experience.
After attempting college at Emerson and living in Boston for 6 years he finally made the move to NYC and has never looked back. While in NYC he has managed everything from a Irish Pub in FiDi to one of the Largest Greek Nightclubs in Queens. After searching for a place to call home he feels he has found it and is extatic to bring his natural and relaxed brand of hospitality to The Meatball Shop.
Originally from Mexico City; Ricardo's career in the hospitality industry has taken him to the Riviera Maya, Europe, and New York City.
When he is not working, he spends his time cruising around on his Harley, and hanging out with his wife and kids.
Born and raised in Hell's Kitchen. Myana loves working in hospitality and has been doing it for 10+ years. She hopes to one day open a small cafe of her own but until then her goal is to deliver the best tasting meatballs to our guests in Chelsea.
I come from a large Irish family, all of whom at one point or another have worked in the restaurant industry. My late father was a bartender while he was a pilot in the Air Force during the Korean war, and my late mother’s family held restaurants and markets in central Louisiana as a child. My younger brother is also chef, and my sisters have all spent many hours working in the trade on their way to other successful careers.
A lot of the inspiration for us to enter the restaurant business, I believe we all gained from our family dinners growing up. I and my brother and sisters grew up with the tradition that dinner was a very important part of our day, because it was the only time the 8 of us could all be together in the same place at the same time. It was hard work, like herding cats my Irish mother would always say, but she pulled it off as long as she could. She made it happen by preparing amazing comfort food and creating an atmosphere of family togetherness. This is why her recipes will always be a staple on the menu of all my family’s holidays and reunion meals.
I began working in the restaurant business when I was 13 years old (lied about my age, and got away with it because I was already 5’11” by then) and have never looked back. Over my career I have accomplished and succeeded in almost every facet of the industry. I have owned and operated a successful restaurant, and been lucky enough to be involved with many successful restaurants as well. Sports and playing sports is the other passion in my life. I still participate in as many as physically possible and still surf as much as Mother Nature and my free time will let me.
I was born in upstate New York but lived most my life on the beaches of Hollywood, Florida. I Moved back to New York almost 9 years ago to further pursue my passion for the restaurant industry, and to do so in the greatest city in the world.
For the past 3 years I have lived in Brooklyn, but in the past also lived in Astoria and Long Beach.
Tim originally hails from Lititz, Pennsylvania. A small town upbringing in the heart of Amish country made him desperate for adventure. Tim has worked for restaurants in San Diego, Boston, and New York City.
Tim is an avid video gamer.
Tim loves hot dogs.
Tim wanted to be a taxi cab driver when he was a child.
Or an astronaut.
Tim is a bit of a nerd and can be found at a comic shop, video game store, or debating science fiction with his wife on his days off.
Tim looks forward to seeing you at The Meatball Shop.
Although Kim’s early childhood was spent in North Jersey, he moved to Ecuador when he was 10 years old, and didn’t move back to the New Jersey until he was 18 years old to pursue a degree in computer science. Kim spent 7 years in the cargo logistics industry working for companies such as SAS, Kalitta Air and Jet Airways. Eventually, Kim decided to leave the airline industry and spend time traveling to places such as Chile, England, Norway, Denmark and Sweden.
When he returned to the US, he embarked on his culinary career by starting a catering business with his mother. After a while, he moved back to New York City and took on a line cook position at an Afro-Peruvian jazz lounge named Tutuma. Unfortunately, the lounge eventually closed, and Kim went on to manage a creperie in Union Square, and subsequently joined the team at the Iron Horse, where he managed the kitchen for the past 3 years. He is now tamed and domesticated living in New Jersey. You can find him getting down in the UES Meatball Shop.
A native of Dallas Texas, John’s passion for cooking started at an early age. He spent summers with his grandmother in Upstate NY, where his grandfather was a park ranger in the Adirondacks. He started working in restaurants at the age of 14 and has never looked back. He graduated from The College of Santa Fe with a BFA in Theatre design; with that and his passion for food and hospitality New York was the only logical choice to be. He could not be happier to be a part of the TMS Family.
I was found next to a magic elm tree as an infant by elves. Growing up with them as a child I was constantly baking cookies and crackers. It was an odd childhood. By the time I was 14 I realized that I was not being paid. That was just no good to me. So I decided to do what goes on the crackers and cheesed it.
I wandered the earth for a while. You know normal stuff got a few college degrees: culinary school, a BA is BS, spent some time studying abroad in Oxford…
After that it seemed to be a good idea to spend time squatting in Europe. FYI, NEVER SLEEP IN THE TRAIN STATIONS OF BUDAPEST!!! The 90s were a good time for central Europe. The rest wasn't so bad either.
After I came back and found out that I couldn't make a living on my good looks so I started to work all over the US: Vermont, Atlantic City (the real city of sin), Los Angeles, North Jersey, NYC. When things got too easy again I opened my own little asylum in NYC called Sip. Nothing to crazy you know just the normal little spot with my childhood friend and brought in what we understood: drunken clowns, go-go dancers, midgets, livestock. It was a good time. After a while I realized it was time to move on and grow up or at least that's what Zoltan on 2nd Ave told me. So I decide to look for the best place to work and was lucky enough to find a great group.
It has been a wild ride. I've been lucky enough to work for some of the best and worst people in the industry. The most important thing I've learned is to work hard and treat people right and it all works out in the end.
Rosa earned her university degree in anthropology with a public health focus, which pointed her to a career in meatballs. She's loved food and cooking since traveling to Italy, Sweden, England, China, Kenya, Peru and Mexico. She discovered her passion for working in restaurants since debuting at a burger joint in the East Village. Other than brief toddler stints in Vancouver and Vermont, she grew up in Brooklyn, and currently resides in Astoria, Queens.
With a love of music and food, Anny leads her team with a big smile and creativity. You can probably catch her dancing while being on the floor at any time of the day or night. Growing up loving her grandfather's meatballs and Sunday Sauce its a no brainer that she ended up coming to The Meatball Shop to further her career in the restaurant industry. You should ask her about her balls.
A native Floridian, Max began his foodservice career at the age of 14 at a privately owned restaurant in St. Augustine.
Max started at Ruby Tuesday in 1997 as a General Manager for their most recently purchased fledgling concept, Tia's Tex Mex. While in training as a Director of Operations, Max spent a large amount of time at the corporate offices training new General Managers and Directors in the art of opening restaurants.
In 2000, Max was promoted to Vice President, People Development and Learning where he was responsible for the written, video and computer-based training for all 40,000 team members and managers and the development of Executive leadership. Max received his professional certification in 2001 as a Senior Professional in Human Resources. In 2006, the American Society for Training and Development honored his team with the BEST Award, naming them one of the top 10 training institutions of all companies in the US.
In 2006, Max was named Vice President, Quality Execution and Innovation where he would oversee a team that would research, test and role out new fresh products and procedures including fresh meats and hand squeezed juices as well as new cooking equipment and upgraded service enhancements.
In 2008 Max took over domestic and international franchise operations as the Vice President, Franchise Operations, managing over 225 restaurants worldwide including 40 company owned locations adding over $23MM in cash flow through increased sales and profitability. Max also oversaw the integration of a new fast casual concept, Lime Fresh Mexican Grill.
In 2011 Max was named Vice President, Development where he oversaw real estate, design and facilities management until taking on his newest role as SVP Operations (aka: Big Balls) at The Meatball Shop.
Virginia started her New York restaurant career 10 years ago like most starving actresses do, never acting. She has since run restaurants in Long Island, All 5 boroughs, and fed nearly every damn Rockette In Rockefeller Center (they eat! I've seen it). Virginia was most recently a Director of Operations for a large national restaurant chain throughout all of New York State. She is thrilled to join the Meatball shop where her true passion serving great food and good vibes with exceptional ballers is realized.
I started out deep in the heart of Mexico. It was hard knock life; kill or be killed. I rose up fast and at the tender age of four I was running the largest and most ruthless drug cartel in all of Michoacán. Being on top took its toll and I didn't want to end up like my predecessors, dead by the age of six. I wanted out, so I slipped away to the city, reinvented myself, enrolled in the Instituto Culinario.
It was a good time in my life, I ate and drank well. Funny aside, due to the relatively high cost of cotton in Mexico at the time, the school furnished us with their signature straw tokes. After finishing school, I entered the kitchen and found the drug trade and the cooking professions oddly similar; lots of knives, drugs and Mexicans. I fit right in. Soon however my past caught up with me and I decided to flee the Americas all together.
In Italy I combined my two passions and entered into the truffle smuggling trade. Being a chef was a great cover. I ate as many as I moved. The food and wine was abundant and life was good again.
Soon however the Italians caught wind of my operation and I was forced to move again. I was in California that I met Daniel Holzman. He too was on the run. Keeping with the code of criminals I never asked from what, but we decided to team up. To stay off the grid we started cooking outdoors, in farms and fields for anyone who would eat.
But soon the country life grew old and we went our separate ways. Daniel went back to New York to open his own place, while I stayed in the San Francisco area and got a job at the venerable Chez Panisse.
When The Meatball Shop took off, Daniel tapped me to help him expand the Meatball empire. I have been in New York ever since.
Yes, everyone loves Williamsburg now, but that is where Jackie grew up. She started her restaurant career as a bus girl because her waitress mother said she had to... She then became a server, bakery girl, hostess, caterer - you name it. She even met her husband while slinging hash. She has been an HR professional for a few (a lot) of years and loves food, friends, family and fun. A true HR nerd who when asked to write this bio responded that she is "not that funny"!
Born and raised in northern California, Kim spent several years in the tech world before deciding to switch it up by moving to NYC and learning all about food and restaurants. She spent 2 years in business school at NYU Stern and was lucky enough to be connected to The Meatball Shop. Kim loves beaches, the water, rainforests, bbqs, tacos, and anything tropical. She loves to travel and is slowly working her way through a very long list of destinations!
Dominic Pascarella heads up finance at The Meatball Shop. He brings 25 years of progressive experience in the hospitality industry, after starting his career in finance at the Hard Rock Cafe. He has served the financial reporting and accounting needs of some of New York City’s well known groups including Richard Sandoval Restaurants and Financier Patisserie in leadership roles. At Richard Sandoval Restaurants Dominic was an integral part of the company’s growth from 3 locations to 30 overseeing the finance function.
A native New Yorker, Dominic lives on Long Island. When not being the bean counter, he stays busy with
his 4 kids and his wife’s “Honey Do” List.
The Meatball Shop has given us the opportunity to give back to the city we love so much, we've created this place for YOU. Enjoy the menu on your own terms, eat simple, eat sustainable, eat good food with no strings attached.