In Chicago, restaurant Mable's Table, has a special place in the hearts of many locals.
The restaurant opened in 2017 and was a nod to the chef's mother who inspired the traditional dishes on the menu.
"It became kind of a neighborhood 'Cheers' for a lot of people. They come eat here two, three times a week," said Chef Anthony Reyes.
All of that changed when they lost about 80% of business because of the coronavirus pandemic and were forced to lay off 25 employees.
"We were able to have such great families here working," said Reyes. "And I just want to be able to bring them back. Without them, Mable's Table wouldn't be here."
- 2March 17, 2020
Like many restaurants during this time, Mable's Table transitioned to curbside pickup so families at home could still enjoy their dishes.
Their most popular dish? Mae's meatballs, which Reyes promises will stick to your bones.
In addition to making sure locals in his community can still enjoy his famous recipes, Reyes is also giving back to his community and serving up meals to those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, like his wife, Nicole, who is a nurse.
"We pack salads, we pack up sandwiches, whatever we can do and we drop them off at the clinic," said Reyes. "We'd go to the police station and go drop them off. That's just how my mom raised us. I can see the appreciation in their eyes."
Make Mable's Table's famous meatball recipe below!
1.5 lbs. of ground beef
4 slices of white bread, chopped in food processor
1/4 ounce Italian parsley, finely chopped
3/4 cup whole milk or dairy alternative
1 extra large egg or egg alternative
1/2 oz. salt (or 1 and 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt. If Kosher alt is unavailable use 3/4 teaspoon of iodized salt.)
1/4 oz. black pepper (or 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper)
1/2 oz. granulated garlic (or 1 teaspoon of granulated garlic. If you do not have granulated garlic, use 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.)
1/2 cup Parmesan/Romano blend
1. Place beef in a large bowl and gently break apart; reserve.
2. Combine milk and eggs and add to bread in a second bowl. Let bread soak for a couple of minutes.
3. Add seasonings, parsley and cheese to bread mixture and incorporate completely.
4. Gradually add meat to bread mixture and mix by hand until thoroughly combined. Try not to pack the meat together!
5. Refrigerate mix for half an hour then form into 4 oz. balls using oiled hands. Line up on oiled 1/2 sheet pans or nonstick pan.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. When done, add meatballs to your favorite tomato pasta sauce and simmer for a minimum of 1 - 4 hours and very low heat.
7. Serve and enjoy with pasta, salad or by itself.
Ground turkey or chicken can be a substitute for beef.