You know the food is good because before you get a fork, your dining partner has inhaled half his dish!
Welcome to Two Meatballs IN THE KITCHEN where three meatballs are served as an appetizer. Why not two, as the name indicates? Because that is how it has always been done since the restaurant opened and the new owners have not changed a thing at their Fort Myers location.
Partners Wayne Entsminger and Franco Russo opened up their second location in July 2020 in Cape Coral. They have gotten a little frisky with a more diverse and younger crowd. A new Neopolitan pizza is served baked at 900 degrees and they also introduced a sauce without sugar from the Northern region of Italy. It is more modern with a bigger bar than the original location. As you pull off Cape Coral Parkway East, the restaurant signage is hidden. The original location has been on Calrose Lane in Fort Myers for 12 years. Entsminger describes the Fort Myers location as “an older loyal crowd that runs on autopilot.”
Given a New Residence Club discount card, we set off to find something tasty in Cape Coral. Coming from the United Nations area of NYC one gets spoiled as to the breadth and depth of culinary offerings around the clock. Settling in Southwest Florida, the first thing to do is reset your clock – dinner is at 5 pm generally down in this neck of the woods with many restaurant kitchens closing at 9 pm sharp.
Entsminger worked for Cisco as a food distributor for 27 years and bought one of his customer’s restaurants to which he once delivered. He had a cookbook named “Two Meatballs in an Italian Kitchen,” and that is from where the name was derived. Opening Night caught up with Entsminger on cell driving back from Louisiana. He had been down there since Hurricane Ida hit for three weeks and until FEMA was able to take over. His mobile unit is cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 500 people daily. Volunteers came from all over Florida and Georgia to help. “This could be us here in Cape Coral at any time,” Etsminger says, as he explains that “the hospitality industry is very giving in nature.”
Normally Entsminger would be at the restaurant, and was relieved to learn we had a great experience in his absence.
Starting off with Mama’s Meatballs, three large veal, beef and pork traditionally made meatballs topped with ricotta and parmesan cheese swimming in homemade southern Italian tomato sauce. The sauce was easily mopped up with the hot, freshly baked, individual complimentary buns served at each table.
Negroni’s were well made with the largest lemon peel running along the entire length of the glass. Opening Night would have loved one large ice cube but Katie our waitress apologized that they didn’t have them available – yet. The presence of several smaller cubes did not take away from the delicious concoction of gin, vermouth and Campari.
Gluten-free items are clearly marked. We tried the Tuscan Salmon Salad, which is a bodybuilder’s dream dish. Protein and greens. The Salmon was cooked and seasoned to order and approximately 5 ounces. Generous enough for two meals as it was cut in half and to be consumed the following day for lunch.
The inhaled dish was thin tender veal served with potatoes and garlic broccoli. I did manage to have a bite of the broccoli and a small sample of the veal, which was sprig free and swimming in a delicious Marsala wine, and mushroom gravy.
As the sign above the exit says “Ciao For Now!” I would add delizioso, meraviglioso, and soddisfacente! Opening Night will be back to document, review and critique another meal here.
Two Meatballs in the Kitchen – Cape Coral
1403 Cape Coral Pkwy E
Dine-in·Curbside pickup·Delivery 239-347-3013
Website click here or type https://www.2meatballs.com/
Total bill with drinks and 20% tip was about $70
Opening Night reviews each dining experience separately. Any number of factors can affect your meal from wait staff, to table location to a Chef’s bad hair day. We will review places several times and link them to past reviews.
Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and friends sing That’s Amore