Giuseppe’s Pizzeria in Montrose took home the taster’s choice award from a recent meatball-tasting competition that was a fundraiser for the city’s Tournament of Roses Parade float featuring an animatronic likeness of Meatball, the famed Glendale bear.
“Our recipes and our food is something we take a very great deal of pride in,” said Ole Olson, Giusseppe’s general manager, as he received a commendation on behalf of the restaurant during a City Council meeting this week.
“We very much appreciate this and we’re honored,” Olson said.
Giuseppe’s meatball recipe has been passed down for three generations.
Meatball the bear got his nickname after he was caught eating frozen Costco meatballs from a garage refrigerator in Glendale last year.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife transported him twice deep into the Angeles National Forest after his visits to local neighborhoods to snack on trash and dip in pools, but when he was spotted a third time, a warden transported him to an animal sanctuary in San Diego County called Lions, Tigers and Bears.
The black bear has been there now for more than a year.
Officials picked Meatball as the star of this year’s float for the New Year’s Day parade in an effort to raise public awareness about how animals and people in Glendale should live together in harmony. The float’s theme is “Let’s be Neighbors.”
Roughly 60 people tried meatballs from Giuseppe’s Pizzeria, Casa Cordoba, Far Niente, Frank's Famous Kitchen and Catering, George's Cucina, Mario's Deli and the Wooden Fork at the fundraising event at Deukmejian Wilderness Park late last month.
Sixty-seven votes were tallied after attendees tasted delicacies from the seven restaurants. Giuseppe’s Pizzeria won with 14 votes, said Jess Duran, director of Community Services & Parks.
The meatball competition aimed to raise money for the $150,000 float. Officials want to cover half of the costs with donations, but have so far only raised about $15,172, $10,000 of which came from downtown apartment developer Holland Partners.
The city is still accepting donations for the float. For more information, call (818) 548-2000.