There are few bars in Lakewood, or even Cleveland, that have gotten even a fraction of the hype that this week's bar has received. It has been featured everywhere from the Plain Dealer's A List Restaurants to the Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. It has expanded its space and expanded into new spaces. It's fitting that for the last bar in Lakewood that I would have a beer at would be a meeting between Cleveland Scene's 2014 best blog and best sandwich. Obviously, the 60th and final bar is Melt Bar and Grilled.
For the most part we had all already been to Melt Bar and Grilled at one point or another. I haven't been there since the blog began. For a while, it was simply because everyone wanted to go on the Melt blog day; but we couldn't match everyone's schedules at a time when the wait wasn't too long. When you've got one of the most famous grilled cheese sandwiches in America, there will probably be a line. I remember how excited everyone was about a grilled cheese sandwich at a bar back when Melt first opened. There's a certain nostalgic excitement when you get foods that you mainly ate when you were a kid. Mac & cheese, pizza, and grill cheese are always exciting to eat. They were as much a treat as as a meal as a child. When we eat them now, it's always a bit more fun than other foods. Since, none of us were new to Melt, we tried a new experience: Melt's new bruch menu!
On a rainy Sunday morning, ten of us arrived at Melt Bar and Grilled fifteen minutes before the bar even opened. Already a couple people were waiting for the doors to unlock. We all huddled under the entrance overhang looking forward to our culinary adventure. When you enter through the back entrance, you find yourself in a waiting area with benches and a souvenir/hostess stand. This waiting area was an important part of the remodel. Originally, the waiting patrons would simply wander around the tables trying to keep out of everyone's ways. Your eyes quickly accelerate from randomly wandering to quickly darting about at all the amazingness around. This eye candy ranges from old ads and photographs on the walls to holiday themed blown plastic figures up above the bar. After looking at the snowman army above, your eyes will be drawn to a slew of beer taps showing off their fantastic draft selection. The front entrance of Melt is an amazing combination of caricatures of people and local places around Cleveland.
Our waiter had already made it to our table by the time I had stopped wandering around taking pictures. He was friendly and did his best to keep us happy during our time at Melt. Unfortunately, there was a breakdown of communication during our stay, leading to two incorrect food orders and three incorrect drink orders. On a plus side, this lead to one of us getting a free meal.
We had a minor amount of confusion when we couldn't figure out who was missing. We knew the number but couldn't figure out how it added up. Suddenly, we realized that our missing person was already here. We somehow overlooked her, even though she was blowing bubbles with her drool at the time. Yes, we forgot that Katie and Johnny's baby Nora was a person. I was then carded by our waiter.
As stated before, Melt has a superior beer list. It gives you the ability to get exactly what your in the mood for and possibly, something you didn't even know you wanted. I decided that North Coast PranQster, a Belgian style ale, was a proper breakfast beer. It's got a good bit of fizz with mildly sour, citricy flavor, with a bit of spice and apricot to boot. It stood great on its own and added to my eating experience. Oddly, the beer prices on the menu didn't match our bill at the end.
Now for the important part, the food. Melt now offers a Sunday brunch from 11am till 4pm on Sundays. You'll still be able to get all your favorites, you've simply got another half dozen sandwiches to try out. I went with the Breakfast Club Melt. It's basically your breakfast morphed into a sandwich. You take your normal egg, bacon and cheese sandwich coat it in pancake batter and deep fry it till awesomeness maximization is reached. I also got a side of bacon. They were out of the side portions of french toast. I'm not complaining because there is no way I could have touched the side of toast after eating the massive sandwich. This is also a good place to lose your chicken and waffle (sandwich) virginity, but watch out it is a mouth full. The agreed upon best sandwich on the brunch menu was the Stuffed French Toast. It's a combination of blueberry compote, lemon curd and cream cheese on cinnamon french toast. It'll force you to go mmmm and your friends to go “Awwwe, why didn't I order that.” Downsides? We had two people that can't handle all the deep friedness and had to get the salad. It was still good.
The regular menu has been shrunken and changes on a monthly to seasonal basis to allow different options throughout the year. They still keep some favorites year round. Smaller menus usually lead to more imagination and quality. Melt is another success story of this logic.
When we were leaving we saw that you get name tags so that the host can find you when your table is ready.
Do you want discounts? Here are two options. One, try the Melt Challenge. All you have to do is eat their monster grilled cheese sandwich which includes three slices of bread and 13 types of cheese and a pile of fries and slaw without any help or trips to the bathroom. If you survive, you'll get a t-shirt, $10 gift card, and a place on their wall of fame. If your stomach can't handle it, then maybe your arm can. if you brand yourself with a Melt tattoo, you get 25% off for LIFE. These next two pictures are from Melt's website.
Melt has one of the coolest atmosphere's in town and with five locations the wait's not too bad anymore. Their beer list is top notch, everyone will find something they love to drink. The food is greasy, gastropub priced and makes me droll just thinking about it. Their fried sandwiches are capable of competing against most any restaurant in the country. The service was knowledgeable and friendly, though this morning it was also easily confused. It is a requirement, as a Lakewoodite/Clevelander to eat at Melt. If you're reading this it's probably just to see if I agree with you and see some pictures. If you're the one person in Cleveland that hasn't gone or you aren't from around here and I'm your tipping point; then go to bar #60, Melt Bar and Grilled, and be full, intoxicated, and happy.
As the bar that is always near the top of everyone's list, it was fitting that the blog ended here. A proper celebration needs its grande finale, and no bar can do it better. It has been a privilege to see, explore and enjoy every bar in Lakewood. Each one has had something that made it unique and fantastic. I've made great friends and memories throughout my travels. Thank you for reading my blog and coming with me on my journey. Now it's your turn to go to Every Bar in Lakewood.
Oh wait. You didn't think I was actually done, did you? The quest may have been completed but there are still side quests to be had. I've got some new ideas for blogs and for Every Bar in Lakewood itself, that will arise over the next couple months. Plus, it's looking like four more bars will be opening by the end of summer. I'm ready for new adventures.
14718 detroit Ave