Cleveland Scene calls Melt Bar & Grilled “one of the defining culinary touch points of Cleveland” and it is number 12 on their Cleveland Bucket List of 100 things every Clevelander must do before they die (or move, which is really the same thing). Given the hype, and that almost every single person I know who eats there raves about this place, I cannot believe that I ate there for my very first time a little over a month ago.
I did once attempt to have lunch at the Cleveland Heights location when they first opened, but opted to dine elsewhere as the wait was estimated to be over two hours. Don’t attempt a weekday lunch at the Cleveland Heights location now, as they are currently open for lunch only Friday through Sunday (the Mentor location also has limited lunch hours).
However, this gave the four kids and I the perfect opportunity to visit the west side of Cleveland and have lunch at the original Melt Bar & Grilled in Lakewood, Ohio. As a true east-sider, I can count on one hand the number of times I have been to Lakewood since moving to Cleveland in 2002. I am definitely heading back. Detroit Avenue has several unique restaurants and specialty shops that I look forward to exploring during future visits.
We visited Melt for a late lunch after 2 pm on a Tuesday afternoon. The restaurant was over 3/4 full, and we waited just a few minutes for our table. There were several families enjoying lunch together, most likely due to their fabulous kids’ lunch deal on Tuesdays. Every Tuesday kids ages 10 and under can order from the Children’s Menu for just $2. They allow you to order up to three discounted kids meals for every adult meal ordered, which will accommodate most families. Children’s meals are regulary $4 and include a drink and a side. For the amount and quality of food you get, the children’s meals are a fantastic deal at any time!
The atmosphere of the Lakewood location is similar to a neighborhood bar. There are a lot of fun holiday decorations and Cleveland decorations on the wall, including lots of fun molded, plastic holiday decor. It makes for a great game of I spy while waiting for your order! It is extremely kid-friendly and fun.
Since we were eating late, we splurged on an appetizer of fried pickles. They were gone before I could snap a photo! On our servers suggestion, we saved the southern herb remoulade the fried pickles were served with for dipping our fries…Wowza! This was knock-my-socks-off fabulous!
With over 25 different grilled cheese sandwiches to choose from on the menu, I was slightly overwhelmed. They all sounded delicious. I asked out server for suggestions. She offered three different favorites and I chose the Cleveland Cheese Steak. I can’t even tell you how happy eating this sandwich made me. I was stuffed eating half, and happily took home the other half for later.
Both of my daughters ordered the kids’ baked mac & cheese. The kids meals come with a choice of fresh-cut fries, a whole banana, or a salad as a side. My younger daughter, who is not a big potato eater, was over-joyed to have a banana with her mac & cheese. I loved the size of the kids’ meals. I thought it was just the right amount of food (my 5-year-old still had leftovers to bring home).
Although the children’s menu has a nice variety my boys, who are adventurous eaters, could not resist ordering off the regular menu. One ordered the Bread, Bacon & Blue salad without the blue cheese. Although I would never think of ordering a salad at a grilled cheese restaurant, this salad was amazing. I actually think his brother was a bit jealous of his salad.
My other son ordered the half portion of the Chicken & Waffles. This sandwich was ENORMOUS!!! Even with the half portion, he brought a large amount home. After his first bite, he proclaimed, “This chicken is outstanding!” It was crisp, moist…perfect.
Since our visit to Melt in Lakewood, the 3 younger kids have talked their dad into taking them to the Cleveland Heights location for early dinner on a Friday night. Melt has definitely become a family favorite at our house! I only wish the Cleveland Heights location were open for lunch daily.