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Published: Saturday, May 20, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
— Don’t expect too much fanfare when the Dayton area’s first Melt Bar & Grilled opens at the Mall at Fairfield Commons on June 12.
“We don’t really do any sort of grand-opening event,” Melt founder Matt Fish said Friday while standing in Beavercreek’s soon-to-be newest restaurant. “We kind of open the doors and hope for the best.”
So far, “the best” has been plenty good enough. The Cleveland-based Melt chain has gone from 12 employees in its first restaurant in Lakewood in 2006 to eight locations across northern and central Ohio with more than 400 employees.
There are no franchise-operated locations. “We are all corporate-owned,” Fish said.
“We’re excited to come to Dayton,” Fish said. “We love coming to new markets.” And if things go well with the Fairfield Commons location, the founder said he will consider adding a second Dayton-area restaurant.
The 5,000-square-foot space will seat more than 150 inside and another 45 on a patio. The restaurant will open with 65 to 70 employees. While a job fair last week went a long way toward filling those positions — “We’re almost fully staffed, which is a good sign” — applicants can still apply on-site, Fish said.
Melt specializes in specialty grilled-cheese sandwiches with many added ingredients — the founder calls it “cool comfort food” — as well as craft beers, specialty cocktails, and an eclectic atmosphere.
A monthly featured sandwich late last year was the 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon Melt, which consisted of Hickory smoked bacon, black pepper-crusted bacon, maple bourbon glazed smoked pork belly, Italian pancetta, herb cream cheese with bacon bits, house made bacon-infused mayonnaise, sharp cheddar, and romaine and sliced tomato.
There is plenty of attention to detail in the interior and the vibe, right down to the music: a playlist that Fish himself created. And those who get a tattoo that featured a Melt logo can get 25 percent off for life. More than 700 people have done so, and Fish expects that number to go up now that Melt is entering a new market.
The newest Melt is located between another new restaurant, Fusian, and JC Penney, in a cluster that also includes Bravo Cucina Italiano, Chuy’s Tex-Mex and BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse. Other relatively new restaurants in the vicinity include Primanti Bros. and Wandering Griffin.