Artie and Vinnie Ercolino are the meatballs of Long Neck’s newest eatery Two Meatballs Italian Deli. Artie said the intention wasn’t necessarily to be known for their meatballs, but a few weeks into opening they are.
“We’re making 600 a day. We can’t keep up,” he said, estimating they’ve served 8,000 since opening the first week in July.
The brothers were born in Queens, but at an early age moved to Long Island. Artie said they had been vacationing in the area for over a decade before deciding to move here full time and open their restaurant in the recently built Taormina Square, at Route 24 and Indian Mission Road.
Artie said the Long Neck area is exploding, and people are looking for good local restaurants. It’s a trek to drive into Lewes and Rehoboth during the summer months, he said.
Two Meatballs has already attracted a lot of attention. The deli opens at noon, and on a recent morning employees were turning away customers trying to get in early.
The response has been amazing, said Artie.
Business partner Nina Vietri said every recipe has been developed by Vinnie. It’s a taste of Italy every time a customer walks into the store, she said.
In addition to the can’t-keep-up-with-demand meatballs, the menu includes traditional Italian brick oven pizzas, hot and cold sandwiches and desserts. Artie said the sandwiches cost a little more than other places, but that’s because the ingredients are shipped from Italy.
Vietri, who is trained as a pastry chef and has been cooking Italian food at home since she was a little girl, said they’re constantly on the road getting the freshest product available, which can mean heading to New York or New Jersey at 3 a.m.
“If we need the product, Artie and I will go and get it,” she said. “It’s a race against the clock every day.”
The deli offers in-store seating, but space is limited, in large part because floor space is primarily used for the market shelves, which all kinds of imported Italian goods.
The brothers designed the restaurant, and there are three things that get the attention of a customer almost immediately – a 16-foot-wide wall of basil growning hydroponically, a mural of a traditional New York City subway platform on the hallway leading to the bathroom and the huge Marra Forni brick oven pizza oven in the kitchen.
Vietri said Two Meatballs is offering private dinners that come with wine pairings. She said the first one sold out quickly. The next one is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 12, but she said there will be more.
“Each dinner will take a customer to a region of Italy,” she said. “They don’t have to hop on the plane to get the tastes and smells of Italy.”
Two Meatballs Italian Deli, 36932 Silicato Drive, Millsboro, is open noon - 8 p.m., Tuesday - Sunday. On Mondays, the market is open and items are 10 percent off, but the menu is limited to chef’s choice. For more information call 302-945-1900 or go to twomeatballsdeli.com.