The Cult Following of ‘Meatball Obsession Plus’ in Newark

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Image by Meatball Obsession Plus

Meatball Obsession Plus is the brainchild of restaurateurs Paul Bartick and Dan Mancini of Mama Mancini’s (which I highly recommend). Growing up, Dan fondly remembers enjoying his grandmother’s delicious meatballs on Sundays served in a cup. Her perfectly cooked meatballs would be covered with her delicious sauce, various cheeses, and vegetable toppings. Dan and Paul wanted to bring Mama Mancini’s Sunday Meatballs to the masses.

Gluten-Free Meatballs.  Image by Meatball Obsession Plus

They launched Meatball Obsession 6 years ago as a walk-up window stand serving piping hot meatballs in a cup in Manhattan. Since then, they have evolved from small window stands in Boston and NYC, to Meatball Obsession Plus a sit-down restaurant in Newark, NJ. They also have plans to expand throughout New Jersey. The Plus means a larger menu, a dining room, and a fun and friendly atmosphere provided by the MO Plus family.

Image by Meatball Obsession Plus.

With their new larger location (opened in January of 2018), Meatball Obsession Plus continues to increase their following to all the meatball connoisseurs in New York and Jersey, with seating for 34. Anyone not familiar with Newark or with bad misconceptions of the city should visit and explore the local business scene and experience it for themselves.

As the only meatball focused restaurant in Newark, they offer completely customizable meals to guests with no limitations. Step one, order with their Ambassador on a floating terminal. They come to you to order, there are no counters. Step two, choose your toppings at the “meatball station”. They have 100% beef, 100% turkey, and 100% vegan-gluten free meatballs (also have gluten-free beef available).

Cheesy bread with marinara.  Image by Meatball Obsession Plus

Their toppings include the pasta of the day or spaghetti, six different sautéed vegetables, Sunday (marinara), Rosa (spicy, creamy, marinara), and Alfredo sauce. Step three, choose your cheeses. They offer six different kinds of cheese, Parmesan, Asiago, Romano, and locally made fresh mutz pearls and ricotta from Antonio’s Mozzarella Factory in Newark. Each meatball dish is served with freshly torn basil and freshly baked bread made locally at Calendra’s. Also on their menu, fan favorites like Cheesy Bread made with two different types of cheeses, Chicken Parmesan, Chicken Alfredo, Banana Pudding and house-made soups.  Their most popular meatball dish are their double beef meatballs in a bowl.

Meatball eating contest. Image by Meatball Obsession Plus.

Extra hungry? They even have a food challenge based around their Jersey Devil sandwich. The ‘Jersey Devil’ is a chicken parm and meatball parm combined. Eat 3 of these massive sandwiches in 3 min and the meal is free, you’ll win a shirt, and have your photo posted on their wall.

Meatball Obsesion Plus is located on Halsey St in Downtown Newark. It’s right in the area next to Rutgers Newark, NJIT, Audible, and Prudential headquarters. There are a lot of local art galleries, shopping, bars, restaurants, and parks. Stop by for the annual Halsey St Festival.

Image by Meatball Obsession Plus.

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MOP has also partnered with Bridges, a service that prevents and provides assistance for those suffering from homelessness. Their Pay-it-Forward program consists of a meatball and pasta meal to clients of Bridges. If you chooses to participate, they ask you to donate $1.32 and MOP will cover the rest of the costs and deliver the meals.

They close early on Fridays and are closed on weekends because most of their business comes from students and commuters. Their food is affordable, an entrée, side, and drink totals out to $11.

Meatball Obsession is available to order from Uber Eats, Seamless, Grubhub, Delivery.com, and over the phone.  They want to change the culture of quick-service restaurants into becoming more comfortable for people to stick around after meals. Their long term goals are to open more Meatball Obsession Pluses all around NJ.

Their trademark “Original Meatball in a cup” Image by Meatball Obsession Plus.

Personally, I feel meatballs smothered in red sauce is the ultimate Italian-American comfort food.  Time to Manga!!

Visit them online at Meatball Obsession Plus or in person at 41 Halsey St, Newark, NJ 07102.

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