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Marabella Meatball Co. rolls up the door

Owner retiring.

Marabella Meatball Co., the last vestige of the once-popular Marabella's restaurant name, has closed its shop at 1211 Walnut St. in Washington Square West, just shy of five years.

The lease was up and owner Gabe Marabella chose to retire to his home in Naples, Fla.

The meatballs had won a fair share of honors, including a spot on Food & Wine's list of the best meatballs in the United States.

Marabella was part of his family's restaurant empire, which at its height in the late 1980s had eight locations, including the Academy House in Center City and the Windsor on the Parkway. Its last location is a BYOB in Stone Harbor, N.J.

Updated: New occupant will be Vaishal Soni, who formerly was part of the team at Rittenhouse's Spice Express. He plans to open a more refined Indian restaurant called Masala Kitchen, perhaps as early as February.

Jacob Cooper of MSC Retail represented Marabella. Chris Egan of Rittenhouse Realty Advisors represented Masala Kitchen.