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A meatball restaurant is what 2020 needs. Manic Meatballs coming soon


Just in time for end-of-this-miserable-year stress eating there’s hope: A meatball restaurant is opening. 

If all goes as planned, Manic Meatballs will open in December in Lakewood’s Tillicum neighborhood just outside JBLM. UPDATE: The restaurant opened in late December. Read a first-bite report here.

“We have a Swedish American menu anchored with the Swedish meatball,” explained owner Carrie Stalder. 

The restaurant will specialize in fast take-out food and comes equipped with a drive-thru. It will open where Omni Bank used to operate. 

“We wanted to find a location where we could feed people great food fast. I worked on base for a number of years and am very aware of the soldiers needing additional options,” said Stalder.

Find Manic Meatballs in Lakewood.

Enter Swedish meatballs, those heavenly, velvety porky-beefy meatballs suspended in a rich brown gravy. 

Never seen them on a menu here? That’s typical for this area, which is short on Scandinavian food, which is weird considering the deep Nordic roots in this region. Until the opening of Manic Meatballs, a diner’s best shot at eating Swedish meatballs outside of a trip north to IKEA, was at the Nordic Festival’s meatball dinner and bake sale. That event, which of course was canceled this year, is hosted every October in Edgewood by the Daughters of Norway Embla Lodge #2. There’s also the annual Scandinavian menu at 208 Garfield, the lovely cafe operated by Pacific Lutheran University. Their holiday menu started on Nov. 18


Stalder was well aware of the dearth of Swedish meatballs in this area. 

“My husband is of Swedish descent and has been making Swedish meatballs and a number of amazing side dishes for years. We always feed the masses for holidays, potlucks, parties.  After a number of requests and ‘I wish we could buy this,’ it turned into ‘maybe we should sell this.’ So, here we are. Weeks away from feeding people.” 

This is a first restaurant for the family. Stalder intends to use her extensive background in operations to help the restaurant operate efficiently. A priority for the family is to provide good food very quickly. They hope to appeal to soldiers as much as they do families looking for hearty food.

“We have three teenage kids and are (pre-pandemic) always on the run. We wanted to find a location where we could feed people great food fast,” she said. 

The project has been underway since last summer. Before the pandemic began, they thought they’d open by this summer. Instead, they’re aiming for a December opening.


“Mashed potatoes, egg noodles, green beans, applesauce are a few of our signature sides,” said Stalder. The beef-and-pork Swedish meatballs will be served in portions of six ($8), 12 ($14) or 24 meatballs ($24). They’re served smothered in that delicious brown gravy with a choice of mashed potatoes or egg noodles.

For those who skip beef and pork, there’s also chicken-apple meatballs served in a creamy gravy with the potatoes or egg noodles. 

The menu at Manic Meatballs.

How about Swedish poutine? The flooded fries come topped with gravy, Swedish meatballs and cheese curds ($12 with meatballs, $8 without). 

They’ve also turned those meatballs into sandwiches, with a choice of the beef-and-pork sandwich ($8) or chicken-apple meatball sandwich ($8). Both come topped with coleslaw.

Vegetarians and gluten-free diners should look to the sides menu. The coleslaw, cucumber salad, green beans and applesauce sides are all meat and gluten free ($3 to $6). The menu also lists combination meals ($12 to $16) and a family feast ($35). 

I’ll keep you posted on an opening date. 


Where: 14815 Union Ave. SW, Lakewood; 253-584-9798

UPDATE: The restaurant is now open. Read a first-bite report here.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/manicmeatballs

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/manicmeatballs


mix plate
The mix plate sample platter at Sweet Rice in Tacoma.

Have you checked out Tacoma’s first Laotian restaurant? It opened in late October on Hosmer. Read more here.