Michael Gurtman, Co-Owner
I am just a food guy. I always have been. You could say it’s one of my many passions. I am not a pretentious food snob, just a simple man who craves flavor and taste. Life is too short to waste your time eating bad food. That’s why every meal should count. Why meatballs? Why not? Who doesn’t love a good meatball? I grew up in northern New Jersey and spent countless hours in old school Italian restaurants in and around NYC, shoving meatballs of every kind down my throat. Meatballs are comforting, uncomplicated, and yet so delicious. I met Chef Eddie by happenstance one evening while I was visiting Aspen. Eddie and I instantly connected. We were both tired of eating under- average food, and confident that with my discriminating tastebuds and Eddie’s culinary expertise we could open a restaurant specializing in meatballs and other Italian style dishes made with freshest ingredients available. Our food isn’t fancy, it’s just ridiculously good. Thanks to Eddie, I no longer have to compromise my tastebuds. I just get to eat well all the time.
Eddie Baida, Co-Owner / Executive Chef
I grew up in Florence, Italy where I learned to appreciate the art of food at a young age. My mother frequently took me to San Lorenzo Mercato Centrale, in Florence, to hand select the best ingredients for the perfect traditional Tuscan meal. However, my greatest cooking influence came from my beloved Grandma Carmelina. She instilled in me her passion for flavor, texture, creativity, and the importance of using the finest ingredients available. But what really set Grandma Carmelina’s cooking apart was the love she poured into her food. When I grew up I set out to fulfill my childhood dream. After graduating from Cordon Bleu in Paris, France, I moved to the United States to taste life in America -‐ it didn’t take long before I fell in love with the variety of culinary experiences found in big cities, such as Miami and New York. After working in a few well-‐known restaurants in Florida, “Mr. X”, a successful real estate entrepreneur, hired me as a private chef where I had the opportunity to cook meals for a select group of Hollywood celebrities and showcase my talents. Timing is everything in life, after about a decade working for others, it was time for me to open my own restaurant and share with the world my gastronomic expertise. The Meatball Shack was born as place that could warm everybody’s palate with my own childhood memories, and ultimately where Grandma Carmelina’s loving spirit and passion for food could live on in each savory bite.