Not mom’s meatballs, but close
“Everybody has a favorite meatball recipe, and that’s the one that always stays in their hearts. But we want The Flying Meatballs to be their go-to if they lack the time or skills to cook that dish. That’s why we offer convenient, high quality food—made with ingredients you recognize—at a very good price,” he said.
And while meatballs are his bread-and-butter (so to speak), Natale’s product offerings continue to expand. “We have an array of frozen plated meals that are skin-packed to eliminate freezer burn,” he said, explaining that the protective film actually shrinks to conform to the foods’ shapes, rather than simply covering the plates edge-to-edge.
Although he’s the head of a multi-million-dollar operation, Natale doesn’t shy away
from “dirty hands” work. “Depending on the situation, I will function as the owner, janitor, maintenance man, logistics coordinator, warehouse manager, estimator, and ‘mad food scientist.’ I also do some second-shift work at Il Capriccio,” he said. “In the food business, you dedicate your capital to where it counts; the more you do yourself, the more you save.”
He’s quick to praise The Flying Meatballs staff, too. “There are about 30 people in the company,” he said, “and all but five are production workers. If you compare our business to an airplane, they are the flight crew. I count on them to keep our plane flying and on-course.”
Natale added that his production staff isn’t a crew of button-pushers; they understand how the equipment works and how each piece fits into the overall operation. “I want them to feel like chefs, and be proud of the work they do. When your heart is tied to your work, it can almost be an art form.”
He’s not content to sit back and just let the meatballs roll, either. In addition to the expanding product lines mentioned earlier, Natale hopes eventually to have food
trucks to bring his food to the street and to supply stadiums, concessions, and other major sales venues.
“We love making this food and want people to be happy when they eat it,” he said.