Either this guy is really confident.
“We got the best balls in town.”
“It’s the best Italian sub shop in East Boston.”
“We go through 420 pounds of chicken cutlet a week. You tell me how good it is.”
“We have been her for over forty years; that’s an accomplishment. And I can’t believe that it took forty years for the Phantom Gourmet to come to us. I can’t believe it. Forty Years!!!!!”
Or the food at the Meridian Market is just that good.
“Meridian Market’s a staple. If you haven’t been to Meridian Market then you’re under a rock.”
“It’s reliable. It’s quick. I know I’m going to get a delicious sandwich.”
“It’s reminds me of eating at my grandmother’s house”
“They make it the way I do and I don’t have to go to the trouble.”
“The food is so good. So good. Trust me. It’s so good!”
“If they left we’d all starve.”
“I can’t imagine East Boston without Meridian Market.”
Located on Meridian Street, in the heart of East Boston, Meridian Market is a casual deli that’s been been serving homestyle Italian meals to the neighborhood since the seventies. Freddie Noviello is the charismatic king of cold cuts and Italian eats, with a big personality rivaled only by the enormous portions he and his family are serving.
“This is a family run operation, you got my brother Paul, you have myself, Freddie, my mom is behind the counter. I have my aunt in the back, my father comes in in the morning. It’s just, that’s family run and family owned.”
And you’ll feel like family the second you walk in the door.
“They’re always friendly they know who you are they always say hello when you come in. We’re all family.”
“I love Paul and Freddie’s mother Dorothy. She’s the sweetest woman in East Boston.”
“We’re raised family oriented so when people do come in we know everyone by a first name basis. We ask them how’s the kids. We ask them how’s your day going?
“They treat everyone like family and you never leave here hungry.”
So, as soon as you take a seat and order your meal, you’ll feel right at home ….because they’re cooking everything fresh every day.
So they fry their cutlets to order.
“A nice hot chicken cutlet. It goes a long way.”
Roll out all of their pasta.
“She’s making love to that pasta”
And feature a bunch of family recipes from behind the line.
“So right here we have a stuffed calamari. Right here we have a tripe. Today we have a braised short rib. Right here is an eggplant parm. And right here old school meatballs and sausages and that’s how our mother would put iron the table when we would have dinner.”
First time Meridian Market goers need to order a sub- served on fresh bread baked just up the street. There’s one of the best Italians in all of Boston- loaded up the way you like it or this flavor packed sandwich stuffed with a fresh cutlets, broccoli rabe and provalone. But anyone in the know will tell you this is the place for chicken parm.
“There’s a lot of people that say we have the best chicken parm. We make marinara sauce every single day. We put that on top of our chicken cutlets, provolone cheese. We throw it in the oven, and then once that comes out it’s breathtaking.
“It’s all about the components right? You’ve got the bread which is amazing. You’ve got the cheesy cheesy cheese which is imported to be layered on top of your beautiful chicken cutlet. And the magicness of when you would eat that in a bite, brings you to tears I would say. It takes your breath away.”
And then there’s The Meridian Special. A sandwich so special, they named it after the place.
“Alright so the Meridian Special Sub we created ah, probably about 17 years ago. We put chicken cutlets, prosciutto de Parma, fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers, basil and olive oil, then we drizzle a little bit of balsamic dressing on there as well. What you get nice crusty on the outside bread, soft on the inside, you get a nice fresh, hot, chicken cutlet and then you have the melt of the mozzarella cheese because it goes on top of the hot cutlet. You have roasted peppers, balsamic, It’s delicious, delicious.”
Sandwiches aside, there’s a schmorgasbord of Italian fare with everything from jacked up antipastos and perfectly executed Sicilian slices to some of the best arrancini around.
“We’re making those fresh every single morning. It’s all done by hand. No machines at Meridian Market. Everything is done by hand. You get the crunch of the bread crumbs on the outside. You get the creaminess of the Arborio rice with the butter and then you have the mozzarella cheese that gooey all over the hamburger, it’s great. Best balls in town.”
Old world classics like Lasagna are a must try- rolled out in individual portions so it’s always fresh. And in fact, the pasta is pretty much always being made in the back.
“If you are making it from scratch, you’re actually creating your own food and it’s coming from yourself.”
And the meatballs are Freddie’s mom’s, so you know they’re made with love.
“Everything is made with love. We use pork and we use beef. We bake them off in the oven, and then we cook them in the marinara sauce. This is my mother’s meatballs recipe, it was brought from my mom’s and over the years we just made it here.
And as they hustle behind the line, the Noviello’s are always grateful for each and every customer they come across.
“When you enjoy what you do, it’s not work, it’s fun..I come into work and I see people all day and we get to talk and making a sandwich, I don’t consider that work, it’s fun. Putting ingredients together and making something that people are going to say, “Wow, that’s the best sandwich I ever had in my life. Makes me happy.”
Meridian Food Market
121 Meridian Street
East Boston, MA 02128