Today I’m joined by Tom Fazio, an executive chef with 20 years experience now stirring things up at That Meetball Place in Farming and Patchogue, NY.
Tom joined the team during the pandemic and has already brought the menu to new heights. Listen in to find out how he describes what makes for a great dining experience, how he works with his team and the most enjoyable part about being a chef.
I’ve dined at That Meetball Place many times since it’s opened and I can tell you the food is now better than it’s ever been. My last experience was Chef Fazio’s Goodfellas Wine Dinner that took place on July 30, 2020.
Watch the Chef Fazio Interview at That Meetball Place in Farmingdale
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About chef tom Fazio
What you’ll notice first about our interview is how down to earth and straight forward Tom is. Having just met him, you can tell what a genuine person he is which comes through in his cooking. He jokes about choosing food service as a career, having worked both the front and back of the house for the last 20 years.
I decided to ask the most direct question I could which was what makes Chef Fazio passionate about the restaurant business? Tom talks about loving the speed and excitement of it all. You’ll have to tune in to hear more about what makes him tick and how he manages his team.
This part of the conversation reminded about my conversation with pastry chef Claudia Flemming.
New chef, new menu
After being out of work for 8 weeks, Chef Fazio found a home at That Meetball Place. It usually takes 2 months to write a new menu but that didn’t stop Tom from doing it in real time during a pandemic.
I got curious about how a restaurant pivots during this challenging time and what Chef Fazio brings to the table for an established restaurant such as That Meetball Place. Many young chefs would start with the menu but thanks to Tom’s experience and tenure he really wanted to understand the goals of the ownership group and writing a menu that meets their vision.
As a fast casual restaurant, it was missing some trendy fast casual menu items even though they”ll always be known for their meatballs. The classic meatball is made from ground chuck, short rib, pork and veal but you can also get Buffalo Chicken, Lamb, Lobster, Ginger Garlic Scallion Pork and Eggplant meatballs.
Not into meatballs? No problem! They are serving up lots of items between the buns, including a Lobster Grilled Cheese, Korean BBQ Beef and a Super Saucy Secret Special Burger Madness Thing!
I encourage you to check out their full menu: https://thatmeetballplaceli.com/locations/farmingdale-ny/#menu
What Makes a Great Dining Experience?
Tom talks about emotion and food. When a meal can transport you somewhere, like a childhood memory I had when tasting their Baked Pacheri that’s when you’ve had a great experience. Dining out is about value and experience. You don’t want a dining experience to get old ore repetitious, that’s why experienced chefs like Chef Fazio know how to delight customers all along their food journey. Listen to the full episode to hear his true knowledge and passion.
I’m excited to see what’s in store for the future at That Meetball Place and I will personally be back time and time again.
Keep your eyes peeled for an all inclusive Chef’s Tasting Menu coming up in their private room as well.
Have you had a great experience at That Meetball Place? What did you order? What should I try next?