New dishes with an old favorite at Mad Meatball

New dishes with an old favorite at Mad Meatball

In 2011 Tanya and Brian Tigner opened Capital Pub and Hot Dog back when the area known as the Market District, south of the East Village, was just a place near downtown people passed through on their way to B&B. Now the area is an emerging neighborhood and the couple have opened a funky new place to fit the area’s vibe, Mad Meatball.

Like Capital Pub, the Tigners have built a menu around one item, in this case the meatball. They use an old recipe for meatballs to make them from scratch and add them to spaghetti, pizzas, sandwiches and more.

“It seemed like a fun idea,” Tanya Tigner said of the choice. “There are a lot of Italian places, but we wanted to play with the idea a bit.”

While Capital Pub feels like an old bar, Mad Meatball feels new and fresh. It feels less like a pub and more like a restaurant (though there’s still a small bar, with lots of Madhouse beer on tap).

For my lunch, I went with the signature pizza, pepperoni and Graziano sausage with sweet roasted red peppers. A 7-inch pizza makes for a good lunch option, though you can get a 14-inch pie for $13.99 if you’re looking to share or are extra hungry.

My co-worker ordered the meatball sandwich, a toasted footlong hoagie loaded with meatballs, topped with homemade sauce and mozzarella cheese and served with your choice of a side salad, fries, pasta, green beans or potato wedges ($8.99). It was a big sandwich, and the meatballs were well-seasoned and really did stand out.

Mad Meatball is a nice complement to Capital Pub, but it’s really its own beast. It’s still a casual dining spot, but a little less casual than the hot dog joint. As the Market District finds its own identity, Mad Meatball is a nice spot to help point the way.

Mad Meatball

Where: 401 S.E. Fifth St.

Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Info: 515-288-2404

About the Author

Joe Lawler covers music and more for Juice Magazine. E-mail him at or follow his updates on Twitter @JoeLawler

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