Though I got an extra special sneak peek of The Melt, it wasn't until yesterday that I paid a visit to the much-hyped outpost of the new fast casual chain in downtown SF. My dining companions, including Julia of PopSugar SF, agreed that the concept of a gourmet grilled cheese restaurant often falls short, but a fast-food grilled cheese restaurant makes a great easy, comfy hot lunch. Click through to see why.
The grilled cheese sandwich-centric restaurant goes big with a new chain of fast casual restaurants called The Melt. Flip camera founder Jonathan Kaplan, moving from capturing video to capturing nostalgia, plans to open the first Melt in San Francisco in August and have 500 national locations by 2015; restaurateur Michael Mina is also an investor. Since Kaplan also happens to be on the board of Sugar Inc., I got a special early taste at my company's five-year anniversary party. Click through to see what's coming.
Grilled cheese sandwiches are one of the great American comfort foods: almost all of us have memories of someone we love grilling up cheese sammies with care. Not surprisingly, this delicious simplicity lends itself to nostalgic one-upmanship and friendly competition, including an annual Grilled Cheese Invitational and my own local Grilled Cheese-Off.
The very basic requirements — bread, cheese, meltiness — lend themselves to countless creative combinations, resulting in another modern grilled cheese phenomenon: the grilled cheese sandwich-centric restaurant. Check out five temples to the tasty classic after the jump.
Melt Bar and Grilled is definitely on my sand wish list, as long as I don't have to order the 13-cheese "Melt challenge." My friend Joy, a Cleveland native, counts Melt among her hometown favorites and recently shared thisdisgusting but delicious gourmet grilled cheese specimen.
Served on Texas toast, the Northcoast Shores features crab cakes, garlic spinach, roasted red pepper, and herb cream cheese. Why, yes, I would take that challenge. How about you?
Got your own crazy sandwiches to share? Email a photo and a description of your sandwich to email@example.com.
I kid my brother that his sole criteria for evaluating a restaurant is by its mozzarella sticks — really, are mozzarella sticks ever bad? When I saw this news about Denny's new Fried Cheese Melt sandwich, I thought about having my bro drive to Denny's to write a review.
Part of Denny's new value menu, the Fried Cheese Melt consists of four fried mozzarella sticks, plus American cheese, on two slices of sourdough bread, grilled and served with a side of marinara sauce. It sounds a little gross, yet when the persecuted Ike's Place puts mozzarella sticks on a sandwich, as on the Super Mario, it's yummy. From the looks of that photo, Denny's version worries me, though of course, neither sandwich is exactly light. Would you try a fried cheese stick sandwich?
I hear you can get just about anything delivered in New York, including, apparently, a hot grilled cheese in a paper sack. According to a story in today's New York Post entitled "He's making a gouda living," an underground chef in the East Village is taking orders via text message for freshly griddled grilled cheese sandwiches, delivered on street corners.
Identified only as "Ronnie" out of fear of the health department, the shady sandwich maker says, "I feel like a drug dealer because I'm handing people a paper bag and they're handing me cash." Ronnie charges $5 to $7 a sandwich. You'll have some cash leftover if you want to visit the underground lobster roll dealer.
Given, grilled cheese sandwiches are addictively good, but they're also ridiculously easy to make at home. Had I known they had such street value, I could have turned a serious profit after our great grilled cheese off. So what's your take on Ronnie: great idea or ridiculous gimmick?
Last weekend, our friend Matt hosted his 2nd Annual Grilled Cheese Off, which began last year as an impromptu tournament and which this year I was lucky enough to attend. With three categories — Purist (bread and cheese), Anything Goes (meat, veggies, whatever), and Dessert — the competition was fierce. See what we tasted and who triumphed by clicking on the slideshow.
Does Friendly's new Grilled Cheese BurgerMelt one-up the KFC Double Down in decadence? It's a patty melt made from two hot grilled cheese sandwiches instead of bread and dressed with lettuce, tomato, and mayo. (The mayo seems like overkill, doesn't it?) Apparently, it's even worse for you than the Double Down, with 1500 calories, 97 grams fat, and 2090 mgs sodium, but also delicious.
Though this new menu item may seem like a sign of the apocalypse, making a burger with grilled cheese sandwiches isn't a new idea. A very similar sandwich, called the Logan County Burger, led Katie Lee Joel to victory in the Burger Bash at the Food Network's NYC Wine and Food Festival in 2008.
No matter who's making it, I admire the ingenuity, but I doubt I could eat one. How about you?
From the same restaurant that offers lifetime discounts to customers who get a tattoo of its logo comes the "Melt Challenge," a feat of eating that involves a five-pound grilled cheese. Based outside Cleveland, the Melt Bar and Grilled sells this monstrous melt, featuring 13 different cheeses and three layers of bread, served with a pile of fries.
Customers who finish the sandwich "without any help or trips to the bathroom" (ew!) win a Melt t-shirt or pint glass, plus a $10 gift card and a spot on the wall of fame. I think I'd rather get a tattoo, and honestly, Melt's Monte Cristo looks good enough to get inked for.
I like tattoos, I love sandwiches, but to my surprise, I have never considered getting a sandwich tattoo. It would just make me hungry.
Meanwhile, this joint Melt Bar and Grilled in Lakewood, OH, is offering a 25 percent discount for life to fans willing to get a tattoo featuring the restaurant's logo: a grilled cheese sandwich and cross bones. Awesome.
So far, more than 50 people have taken Melt up on its offer. Considering that the restaurant is currently offering a macaroni and cheese melt with bread crumbs as its sandwich special, I can't really blame them.