Why so good? Hard to say, since really it is conceptually so simple: meatballs in sauce with a little cheese on a roll. Partly it is the soft yeasty-sweet rolls, imported from Amoroso’s in Philly; you would think it would be easy to get the bread right, but so many delis get the bread so, so wrong. The meatballs don’t look like much, golf ball-sized medium-brown spheres, but they are really soft and delicious. Hard to say what kind(s) of meat are involved, surely some pork at least? A tiny bit of oregano, salt and pepper of course, some breadcrumbs, and likely milk too. The result is excellent, whatever is in there.
The sauce is good too, a little on the sweet side of the spectrum but subtly so. Really the sauce takes a backseat to the meatballs and roll, holding it all together. Also, cheese: I always get parmesan, but they offer provolone too, either way the small hit of cheese adds a bit of salt and texture, but it is really about the meat and bread.
With all these new restaurants opening in Wheaton, it is easy to forget about some of the places that have been here for decades, but Marchone’s (11224 Triangle Lane) is worth remembering, especially for meatball sub fans.