‘Your Sister’s Balls’ are right here in New Jersey
I never know what I'm going to get when I crowd-source my listeners and social media following. Last Saturday while asking about where the great food trucks are in New Jersey, we learned about this.
Mark Pica, whose "Pica's Picks" have become a thing in New Jersey, so much so that when he calls my New Jersey 101.5 show we call him "Meatball Mark," came across a truck at the feast in Hoboken called "Your Sisters Balls."
I reached out to the owner Nicole Montecalvo:
How did you come up with the name?
I wish I had some interesting story for this one.: but it’s really very simple and innocent. After we decided to participate in San Gennaro and I had rallied the whole family to help me make meatballs for millions of people we sat down and realized we need a name! And at that time in the beginning it was supposed to be my sister and I doing this as partners. So we at first said 'Sisters Balls' and then for some reason I heard my Brooklyn Italian father in my head yelling 'Your sister's ass' after he would drop something or someone would cut him off on 18th Avenue. I laughed to myself and said it’s gotta be 'Your sister's Balls'!!
How did your business come about?
I wish I could take all the credit for this one but it was actually my son's idea when he was 10. My cousin Noelle Scala owns a cafe on Mulberry Street in Little Italy called Cafe Belle. He and I were there one afternoon and he was talking to my cousin and he said, 'hey Ma, there’s a street fair here in a couple of months we should set up a table and sell your meatballs!'
So I said yeah ok Joey sounds good not thinking anything of it. At the time I was the Mom that made meatballs for the kids when they had baseball or football games or events. My son actually had the nickname 'Joey Meatballs' before we even started our food truck.
Anyway, about a week later my cousin Noelle texts me and says ok I’m going to email you the forms for San Gennaro it’s going to cost x amount of dollars and we will split it. I had to read that twice. Did I say San Gennaro? As in the huge two-week feast in Little Italy? I had no idea this is what my then 10-year-old was planning and asked me to make meatballs for.
At the time I was thinking yeah no problem I’ll fill a crockpot with some meatballs and put a little table up LOL! At first, I said absolutely not there is no way I could do this, but when I told my son and he looked at me so sad and disappointed Mom mode kicked in and I said don’t worry we got this and I will figure it out! I started a group text with a few family members and basically said listen I need help... we have two months and we need to make thousands of meatballs and for some crazy reason, they agreed! We rolled about 5000 meatballs that summer! We made it through San Gennaro and had the best time doing it. Before it was even over we were getting messages and phone calls from people asking us to cater parties and be at other festivals. Two months later we bought the truck!
How did you get the idea for the sausage and pepper meatball? which I think is a game-changer.
They are so amazing.. my Mom and I eat them for breakfast all the time with a nice over-easy egg! It’s basically a sausage and peppers sandwich in a meatball. Delicious!! These balls along with everything else we make on the truck are things we like and make at home for our families. I love sausage and peppers but I didn’t want to have the traditional sausage and peppers on the truck, I felt like there were too many people doing that. And I wanted to stay with the 'balls' theme so I figured we could make them into a meatball.
What makes your meatballs so great?
Honestly, I think it’s a combination of a few things. And I know this sounds silly but we really do make all of our food with love. We don’t have anyone outside of the family working with us or for us. It’s my Mom, my sister Jackie and myself in the kitchen cooking our sauce for 6 hours, and mixing and rolling the meatballs by hand. Sometimes if we are extra busy we have our friends come to the kitchen and help roll. We have a great time doing it. It’s like being in our Italian kitchen at home on a Sunday. The women sitting around gossiping, fighting, laughing, eating and cooking!
What are some of your other specialties?
Besides our meatballs, we always have rice balls. Either plain or Sicilian with ground beef and peas. We make mini calzones filled with creamy spinach and Parmesan, and for our Italian feasts, we always try and make zucchini flowers stuffed with mozzarella. We also make seafood balls which are crabmeat shrimp and scallops with no fillers. They are incredible.. Our menu never has tons of items. It changes when we feel like making something different or trying something new. We try to keep it small and keep it things that we make ourselves and that we make really well.
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Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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