It’s Tuesday, and my husband and I are planning to eat at Melt Bar & Grilled in Lakewood, a restaurant we frequent on our rare date nights. However, this outing is a special occasion for us — we are bringing the kids.
While Melt’s Lakewood spot is the original, the restaurant has locations across Ohio — including Cleveland Heights, Independence, Mentor and Columbus, also a new spot in Progressive Field in Cleveland— each of which serve the well-known monster grilled cheese sandwiches and other melted concoctions.
The comfort food, along with the rock-n-roll decor, complete with menus printed on backs of vinyl record sleeves, creates a hip and vintage environment.
My sons, Noel, 8, and Anton, 6, began to point at the various framed Cleveland Indians art on the wall as soon as we walked into the restaurant. It wasn’t long until they noticed the two classic arcade games sitting next to the restaurant’s front counter.
The arcade games are a cross promotion from 16-Bit Bar and Arcade, located around the corner from Melt. We ended up being seated near the BurgerTime and Centipede games, each set to free play, making it difficult to get the boys to settle in to view Melt’s kid menu.
At Melt, “Kids Eat for $2 Every Tuesday,” so we were in luck. (However, kids’ meals are still fairly priced on other days at $4, and include fries or a side salad or whole banana, along with a choice of soda, milk or chocolate milk.)
Noel ordered the Half Kindergarten, which is the half version of Melt’s popular grilled cheese sandwich, while Anton knew he wanted the baked mac and cheese. Other choices I want to encourage for next time are the PB&J or Mini Melt Burgers. For the little ones, Melt also offers hand breaded chicken fingers.
Next, it was the parents’ turn to order. The Parma, Italy has become my staple favorite at Melt. The chicken parmesan combined with garlic and thick bread feels like a homemade meal all wrapped into a sandwich. My husband, who’s favorite summertime sandwich, Firecracker Chicken, is not yet on the menu, decided to try the Lake Erie Monster.
When dinner ended, it seemed like a great time for my husband and I to relax and talk about our day. The boys were long gone by then. After trying their dishes, they headed straight back to the arcade games, which became a kids’ watering hole as others joined in the fun.
While dessert isn’t something I often think about when I come to Melt, I decided to save some room and try the Fried Twinkies. I thought this would be a great family treat, but the joke was on me, as my boys decided to skip dessert to work out their hands at the arcade. The Fried Twinkie, on the other hand, was no joke. Cut into pieces and served with whipped cream and berry sauce, it was my pleasure to finish their portions.
We got to-go containers for the kids and me, and then headed to their favorite spot, West Side Skates on Madison Avenue, to get new stickers for their skateboards and check out the latest gear.
Heading home, I thought about how we can now add Melt to one of our family night out hotspots, as taking the kids wasn’t a problem. However, on the occasional date night, we can skip the games and head right to the bar to eat.