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Cheap Eats: The Melt

Though it sounds like a heated daytime TV talk show, the Melt is actually a grilled-cheese restaurant from Flip camera founder Jonathan Kaplan, who hopes to grow the concept into a franchise, with 500 clones from coast to coast. As this first installment shows, his formula is simple: five kinds of grilled-cheese sandwiches and five hearty soups, all served lickety-split, and faster still if you order in advance through the restaurant’s app. The soups are robust and respectable, given the high-volume, counter-service context—especially the tangy tomato basil, which summons cozy memories of school lunch. And the grilled cheeses? They’re exactly that: very gooey, slightly greasy, starchy belly-fillers, whether you opt for the smoked gouda on multigrain or the sourdough with jalapeño jack. That they don’t delight your taste buds hardly seems the point. With its pragmatic, retro-trendy menu (a box of Cracker Jack for dessert, perhaps?), the Melt is aimed at the quickie-lunch crowd and at downtown Peter Pans who’ve got all the latest gadgets but whose palates haven’t quite grown up. $ W ★

 

Our review policy: To ensure that we get a typical consumer’s experience in a restaurant, our writers dine anonymously; all expenses are paid by the magazine. Reviews are pulled from our listings two years after the review date or any time personnel changes at a restaurant render a review invalid. Our admittedly imperfect star ratings are based on food quality, variety, service, ambience, and value. 

Staff reviewers and contributors to our restaurant guide include John Birdsall, Susan Bryan, Stett Holbrook, Rachel Levin, Jan Newberry, Josh Sens, and Lisa Trottier.

Prices:
Average price of an entrée:
$ = $10 or less
$$ = $11–17
$$$ = $18–24
$$$$ = $25 or more

Symbols:
D = Dinner only
R = Reservation required/recommended
C = Cash only
V = Valet parking
W = Wheelchair accessible

Ratings:
★★★★ = superlative
★★★ = excellent
★★ = very good
★ = good