From the outside, Cashio’s Meatball Market in Lakeview looks quaint. Historic, even, as though it could belong to owner Mary Susan Cashio’s grandmother, who inspired the recipes, according to AL.com. But this is no grandma restaurant. Cashio’s combines small neighborhood charm with modern restaurant polish to create a thoroughly fun new option.
Taking a page from fast-casual dining, Cashio’s has built its entire menu on the meatball. Pretty literally, in fact. The menus aren’t simply a list of available options; they’re the canvas for your own meatball masterpiece. And the restaurant website’s food photography is sure to get you inspired.
Pick your meatball meat–or the veggie option–and build from that, adding sauce and then a side. Mark your choices on the menu as you calculate your perfect bite. If by chance you can’t choose, there’s even a meatball flight. The man at a neighboring table seemed pleased with that decision, reporting that he even loved the veggie meatball.
For the ultimate comfort bite, you’ll probably want either the classic beef or the Italian sausage meatball and the spicy marinara over pasta. The sauce is chunky enough to stand up to a meatball and adds a subtle kick. The marsala sauce is also worth a try. We’d pair it with the risotto, which had a great texture–a hint of creaminess without losing the rice grain.
Cashio’s genius is really in the buildable approach, where you can hold onto part of a favorite meal but branch out with different pairings. And it’s just plain fun.
The bold interiors by Appleseed Workshop are a pleasure to sit in–the statement banquettes are incredibly comfy–and the staff is friendly. It’s the kind of atmosphere where you could easily be a regular. And with the location walkable to housing in Lakeview and Highland Park, that’s a distinct possibility.