Two Meatballs Italian Deli, located in Millsboro, offers authentic Italian classics with a contemporary twist./Photo by Meg Ryan
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It’s an August morning in Millsboro and the employees at Two Meatballs Italian Deli have already told a handful of hungry visitors that the eatery doesn’t open until noon.
Artie Ercolino says it’s been this busy almost every day since the deli launched July 3. With lines forming before the doors open and owners Artie and Vinnie Ercolino selling out of almost everything daily, it’s no wonder the brothers decided to expand less than two months after starting up.
The Ercolinos wanted to bring authentic Italian deli dishes and products to the Delaware beaches, Artie says. Now, Two Meatballs is taking over the space next door to add a full-service fine-dining restaurant; they plan to have the new eatery running by Jan. 1. “It’s like a little village,” says Nina Vietri, pastry chef and vice president of operations.
Customers can also shop dry goods in the front of the establisment./
The Ercolino brothers vacationed at Delaware beaches for more than 12 years, but food options lacked diversity, they say, and authentic Italian food was hard to find. So, after retiring, the brothers decided to dive in and bring their own deli to Millsboro.
Vietri and Vinnie do the cooking, using original recipes from the Ercolinos’ mother and grandparents. The team comes in around 7 a.m. daily, Vietri says, to make sure items are prepared properly before customers begin lining up at the door. And Vinnie makes sure everything that leaves the deli counter is done right.
“We keep it authentic,” Vietri says.
While the deli menu was limited in the summer months as Two Meatballs settled in, it still packed a punch of Italian authenticity. The Summer Chicken Salad made with pulled roast chicken, grapes, apples, lettuce and tomato, and the Classic Shrimp Salad made with jumbo shrimp, celery, mayonnaise and Old Bay seasoning are both crowd pleasers, Artie says.
But the namesake meatballs can’t be forgotten—the deli rolls about 1,000 daily to please hungry customers. They show up in multiple dishes like Artie’s Meatball Parm and the Meatball Pizza.
Before customers hit the deli counter, they can also shop dry goods on the shelves in the front half of the establishment.
All of Two Meatballs’ deli meats are stamped “DOP” for Denominazione di Origine Protetta—literally “Protected Designation of Origin”—meaning they come straight from Italy.
Artie says they plan to update the deli menu to include pastas, entrées and salads. The restaurant next door will feature a fine-dining menu to be prepared in a new kitchen. Private dinners will also be available.
After six weeks of nonstop business since opening, Artie says he’s grateful their enterprise continues to grow. He’s happy to offer customers what they’ve been begging for: more Two Meatballs.
“It’s what keeps these people coming back,” he says.
Two Meatballs Italian Deli
36932 Silicato Drive, Millsboro • 945-1900