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The Meatball Shop:
The Bedford Ave. installment of this popular LES eatery preserves all the character of the original, including sustainable ingredients, rustic décor and a varied menu that may just put your Nonna’s spicy meat-a-balla-s to shame. Take a seat in the antique interior (decorated to be nearly identical to the Stanton Street flagship) and order up exactly what you want using matrix-style menus and dry erase markers to mix and match meats, sauces and sides as you please (it’s, like, the easiest logic problem ever). Same goes for the Baller’s Booze List, where suggestions are offered but, ultimately, the decision is yours—if you want house bitters and vermouth in your tequila, just check the box (all $9). Daily rotating Jello shots and house-made Fool Aid Punch ($7/glass, $20/carafe, $38/quart) are also a good bet for partying Italian-American style without sinking to the level of GTL.