Melt Bar & Grilled Coming to The Short North
A grilled cheese sandwich is a pretty simple menu item at face value, but Matt Fish has proven that there can be a lot more to this dish than meets the eye. Fish is the founder and owner of Melt Bar & Grilled, a hip restaurant phenomenon in Cleveland which will be expanding to Columbus this fall when their first Central Ohio location opens at The Hub in The Short North.
“I thought I was opening a bar with an amazing grilled cheese menu, but it turned into more of a grilled cheese restaurant with an amazing beer list,” said Fish when speaking about the opening of the original Melt in 2006 in Lakewood, Ohio, an inner-ring suburb of Cleveland. “As soon as people started hearing that we were opening up a grilled cheese restaurant, everyone was like, holy crap, that’s amazing!”
In just seven short years, Fish has added Melt locations in Cleveland Heights, Independence, and Mentor, in addition to expanding the original Lakewood location twice. Customers continued to pour in, as well as TV personalities including Guy Fieri of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Adam Richman of Man vs. Food, who both filmed episodes of their shows that featured Melt.
“All of our locations are busy, and our customers love it,” said Fish. “Each store has its own personality. We don’t want them to be cookie-cutter.”
Fish says that he wants the new Short North location to take on its own organic identity that complements the culture of Columbus. The core menu will stay the same as the other locations while weekend specials will cater to local tastes and trends. In the longer-term, Fish hopes to open additional Central Ohio stores with the Short North serving as the flagship location.
“To me, the Short North is the place to be,” he said. “If we only get one shot at it, why not open up in the premiere district. If we went straight to Easton or Polaris as our first store, I think we’d be looked at as a corporate store, or just not as hip. The Short North gives us credibility.”
The target opening date for the Short North Melt is scheduled for November 2013, though timelines could vary depending upon ongoing construction of The Hub mixed-use development where the restaurant will be located.
More information can be found online at www.meltbarandgrilled.com.
Photo courtesy of Melt.