Previewing new Mentor Melt
I'm pretty sure the crowds won't allow me to get near the new Melt Bar & Grilled after it opens Friday. So I'm glad I was invited to a preview of the new eatery in Points East at Route 306 and 20.
Chef proprietor Matt Fish has encountered a few bumps in the road, including a fire last month and a power outage on Monday, when the soft opening was to have been held. But assorted movers and shakers, retail neighbors and lots of other invited guests gladly returned last night to see the great do-over of the former Jalapeno Loco, taste the food and sample the beers, 40 of which are on tap.
Soft openings are planned to work our last minute kinks, give staffers real-people experiences and let management know what kinds of questions they'll be fielding once the general public arrives. The three other Northeast Ohio Melts always are packed and waits are common. No reservations are accepted, but carryout is a reality, I was told. A mural of black and white renditions of famous Clevelanders, from Ghoulardi to Drew Carey to Mister Jingaling fills a wall, drawing folks to search out old friends. It's a clever way to amuse those who are waiting for a seat, although I couldn't find Dorothy Fuldheim.
Remembering its past life, my friend ordered a Big Popper, combining fresh jalapeno peppers, cheddar and herbed cream cheese into a sandwich of giant proportions. It was then cut in half and the entire thing was deep fried before it was served to her with mixed berry preserves.
It's impossible to imagine the size of these sandwiches until you have one. A table full of Melt's food could feed a small village, and I kid you not.
I removed the bread from half of my mushroom melt, ordered a vegetable side instead of fries and took the rest home for another day. The vegetable side that day was a huge portion of snap peas in a delicious garlic sauce. It's today's lunch.
The beauty of this place is that you don't need to do that. You can order things as you want them and even skip the cheese altogether to choose a salad or homemade soup. The starters and snacks list is more my speed for dinner anyway, so that's probably the menu I'll use when I order carryout. Think pierogies, crab cakes, goat cheese quesadilla.
It's to be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. so is good for lunch or dinner. Since Melt Bar & Grilled is just a long block away from my office and on my way home, soon I'll be able to let you know if carryout is as efficient as the service we experienced. In the meantime, check it out in person or online at www.meltbarandgrilled.com