D and I are big fans of the show Man v Food, an American food reality television series that aired for four seasons on the Travel channel. After watching the episode when host Adam Richman visits Cleveland, we knew that we definitely wanted to eat at Melt Bar and Grilled, a restaurant whose only goal is to “provide gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and as many beers possible in a cool and comfortable environment.” Richman went to Melt for the sole purpose of taking on “the Melt Challenge” (a monster sized grilled cheese sandwich that features over 13 different cheeses, three slices of grilled bread and a pile of hand cut fries and cole slaw. All in all, five pounds of food, that if you can eat without any trips to the bathroom or help from friends, you’re declared a victor.) However, D and I went to simply try it out.
With the opening of its Independence location last fall, there are now three Melt restaurants to choose from. We went to its east location in Cleveland Heights since it was only a 10 minute drive from the Cleveland Museum of Art, which we had visited earlier in the morning. The decor is decidedly eclectic, ranging from articles you might find in an 80’s teenager’s room, to garage sale memorabilia, to TGIF Fridays style-funky, cool, and relaxed.
Given the style of restaurant it is, reservations are not accepted and upon arriving there (about 12:30 PM on a Sunday afternoon), we were told it would be a 90 minute wait. However, you can eat at the bar which is first come first served, and thankfully within 10 minutes of waiting, I spotted two empty seats and snagged them.
The menu features well over a dozen grilled cheese sandwiches; some notable ones included the Westside Monte Cristo (honey ham, smoked turkey, Swiss, American, beer battered and mixed preserves) and the Tokyo Tuna Melt (Asian marinated grilled yellowfin steak, ginger wasabi dressing, lettuce, tomato, and muenster). The same type of bread is used for all sandwiches, although you do have your option of selecting the cheese. All sandwiches come with fries and cole slaw. Melt also has monthly specials, with each week featuring a different sandwich. If you’re not in the mood for a grilled cheese sandwich, there is also the option of ordering one of their eight gourmet grilled burgers, although to me it seems a burger is something you can get anywhere whereas a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich is not.
The menu does have starters but knowing how big and filling the sandwiches would be, I purposely refrained from ordering any.
Although it might be considered a bit dull and possibly lame to some, I kept things simple by just ordering the Kindergarten sandwich for $6 (exactly what one cooks at home when making a grilled cheese sandwich although infinitely better at a place like Melt). I chose American as my cheese and did add tomatoes to it for a little extra pizazz. The sandwich was delicious and the bread definitely contributed to its awesomeness. I only ate half because I was bordering on near to full with the one half eaten. It was almost as good warmed up in the oven the next day.
D ordered the week’s special which was the TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) Cowabunga Pizza Roll Melt, which consisted of cheese pizza rolls, homemade marinara sauce, basil pesto cream cheese, and provolone and Romano cheese. Over the top to say the least, but he ate the entire thing. As we told the waitress upon being seated that this was our first time at Melt, D got a congratulations from her upon finishing the whole sandwich.
Melt offers diners a fun and unique take on a very all-American sandwich in a boisterous and easy going environment and will not disappoint.