Hey! Ho! Let’s Go to Marky Ramone’s Meatball Truck

cruisinkitchenCourtesy of Cruisin’ Kitchen

CBGB will be all over the place this summer, and so will a new truck bearing the name of one of the club’s legends. Marky Ramone’s Cruisin’ Kitchen hit the streets about two weeks ago, and the owner, a former East Villager, plans to feed the neighborhood’s late-night hordes.

Keith Album, a French Culinary Institute grad who has worked in catering, as a personal chef, and most recently at Whole Foods, describes his concept as “worldwide balls,” with Marky Ramone’s signature marinara sauce slathered over the Italian variety.

Not only that: the former Ramones drummer’s name and likeness are plastered on the side of the truck.  The branding came about because Mr. Album’s brother is a longtime friend of Harvey Leeds, Mr. Ramone’s manager.

But Marky’s marinara isn’t the only topping available: Asian balls are topped with Napa cabbage, chorizo balls are topped with mango salsa, and there are even chickpea-based vegan balls – all $7.

When The Local spoke to the truck’s owner yesterday, he was getting off of a shift across from Trader Joe’s on 14th Street, where he hoped to park on weekend evenings (he planned to be back there tonight). “I’d like to get into the heart of the East Village one or two nights a week,” he said. “That’s certainly Marky’s demographic.”

keith albumCourtesy of Cruisin’ Kitchen Keith Album

It’s also Mr. Album’s stomping grounds. The 54-year-old said he lived on Third Street between First and Second Avenues in the ’80s, before he got married and moved to the Upper East Side to raise his kids (he now lives in Sunnyside, Queens). He saw Mr. Ramone in action back then, but he wasn’t exactly a regular at CBGB. “I’m certainly not a punker, but I love his music,” he said.

Now Mr. Album is slinging balls outside of Mr. Ramone’s local shows with his band Blitzkrieg, including a recent one at the Bell House in Gowanus, Brooklyn. And the truck’s namesake may occasionally climb aboard. “He talks about coming on the truck when he can fit it in,” said Mr. Album. “He hasn’t actually served customers but we do speak about him making appearances.”

With Mr. Ramone touring Europe through August, Mr. Album is on his own for now.

Yesterday, The Local spotted his truck, with its motto of “More Balls Than Most,” cruising down Avenue A. The neighborhood, its owner said, is hardly recognizable. “On one hand New York is always changing and I love the vibrancy of it,” he said of the East Village, “but I kind of miss the grittiness of it. I would probably be living there had it not been gentrified. But again, there was so much crime.”

Mr. Album said he had made peace with the upscaling that priced him out of the neighborhood. “To drive through Avenue C and see what’s going on there is phenomenal, whereas when I was there it was junkies. I like and accept all the changes and gentrification.”