JACKSON TWP. For those who love a good grilled cheese sandwich, Melt Bar and Grilled opened Monday in Belden Village Mall that will please the taste buds.
Melt Bar and Grilled, which originated in Lakewood and has gained a large following in Northeast Ohio, offers 28 different grilled cheese sandwiches, five salads, three signature soups and eight appetizers.
Plus, there is a full bar with signature drinks, wine, 24 different craft beers on tap and a variety of craft sodas. There are two signature desserts, seasonally flavor bread pudding and fried Twinkie bites.
The Belden Village location is the regional chain's 10th restuarant. Others are located in Fairlawn, Lakewood, Cleveland Heights, Independence, Mentor, Avon, Columbus and Dayton.
"We’ve been looking at the Canton area and especially the Belden Village area for a while," Owner Matt Fish said. "The location in Independence had a lot of customers coming in from the Canton area. Plus, we know a lot of people from the counties just south of Stark come to shop in the area so we felt this would be a strong area. Belden Village Mall is known as a strong mall in the area and a strong mall across the state."
The 5,000-square foot eatery seats 143 people inside and 53 on the outdoor patio. Fish said he started the restaurant because of his love of grilled cheese sandwiches.
"I’ve loved grilled cheese throughout my childhood and as an adult," Fish said. "I’d never seen gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches served until I opened my first restaurant. Everybody can probably remember eating grilled cheese as a kid. Grilled cheese is kind of nostalgic. We decorate each location with items of nostalgia unique to each area as a continuation that theme."
All of the menus are hand pasted to the back of old album covers and include sandwiches with fun and unique names. Sandwiches are made with different meats and a variety of ingredients. The Cleveland Cheese Steak has braised pulled beef brisket, garlic mushrooms, sautéed onions and peppers, rosemary onion aioli and provolone cheese.
Hot Italian has honey ham, pepperoni, salami, basil marinara, roasted garlic, banana peppers and provolone and romano cheeses. The Mighty Macaroni has creamy homemade macaroni and cheese, battered and deep fried then its layered with cheddar cheese sauce and one other melted cheese of the customer’s choice.
There are options to cover all types of eating habits such as glutten free, vegetarian, vegan and there are options for those with food allergens.
"We can work with any food issues a customer may have, they just need to let their server or bartender know what they need," Fish said.
Fish tries to buy as much of his ingredients locally as possible. He has a propriety bread recipe made in Pittsburgh by a bakery called the Mediterra Bakery. The restaurants get fresh bread delivered daily.
He buys spices in Cleveland, cheeses come from Wisconsin and the fresh ground beef is from New York. Fish said he buys the nostalgic items used in the décor from a variety of antique dealers, on eBay and shopping at estate sales.
"I always hope that customers will find something in each restaurant that brings back a positive memory from their childhood. The music items are also nostalgic and we have items from all genres of music in the restaurants," Fish said.