STOGIE JOE’S, 1801 East Passyunk Avenue, East Passyunk

This is a great neighborhood joint in Bella Vista that serves up legendary pizza, craft beer (we enjoyed a Victory 21st Birthday IPA) and real characters. We spent an afternoon at the bar, swapping stories with the colorful regulars.

stogie joe's

(Photo credit: Glen Macnow/WIP)

And eating meatballs, of course. At Stogie Joe’s they come on a Liscio Kaiser roll, and it’s a bargain of a sandwich at eight bucks. It’s the old-fashioned recipe – beef, veal, pork – and well-seasoned with grated cheese, crushed red pepper, garlic and other spices. The bartender wouldn’t reveal anything more about the ingredients, but my guess is that it’s a secret family recipe handed down through many generations.

Terrific sauce. Nice cheese-to-meat quotient. All-in-all an excellent meatball, with flavor enough to cut through the sharp provolone and stand on its own.

Stogie Joe’s has great character (and characters). Ask, and they’ll tell you how boxing champ Joey Giardella used to train upstairs back in the day. Go there for the stories, and the meatballs.

Score: 87/100

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