Before opening Pozole in Virginia-Highland eight years ago, chef Joe Masi worked for many of Atlanta’s major restaurant empires, including Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, Fifth Group, and Concentrics. He was executive chef at One Midtown Kitchen and also spent time at Veni Vidi Vici. Though he’s Italian by heritage, the Mexican fare at Pozole has been his focus—until recently.
Together with his cousin Joey Federici, who ran a catering company in New York for thirteen years, Masi is now set to ditch the margaritas and embrace his Italian roots. The pair is scheduled to open Bar Meatball, which will replace Pozole, the week of February 24th.
“It’s about the home-grown feel of comfort food,” says Masi, who uses a family recipe for the traditional meatball.
Masi and Federici will import tomatoes, cheese, and cured meats from Italy, where their parents share a house just one hour from Sorrento. The meat will be ground in house to create five varieties: classic beef, sausage and peppers, chicken and rosemary, eggplant parm, and arancini. All are available as individual sliders or as a meal (four balls plus focaccia and sauce). Common mainstays like calamari, lasagna, Caprese salads, and antipasto will also be served.
The interior will veer far from Pozole’s dark beams and blues, opting for a clean, classic look with black and white textiles on the floor, subway tiles on the wall, and white marble on drink rails. Federici describes it as reminiscent of a 1920s bistro.
Bar Meatball will feature a full bar with six or seven cocktails, six wines, and draft beers, with the potential for house wine on tap. The majority of Pozole’s staff, including lead bartender Jaxon Pickett, will be retained to work at Bar Meatball.