MARCH 11, 2009
MELT BAR AND GRILLED - MUNICIPAL STADIUM MAGIC SANDWICH
I guess Cleveland has specialty restaurants too! Melt Bar and Grilled is a comfortable neighborhood bar that specializes in grilled cheese sandwiches. This is a popular lunchtime destination for local residents to grab a tall Pabst and a greasy sandwich on their lunchbreak, and there is usually a wait to get seated during the day. We waited until 2:00 to go, and the restaurant was still at about 80% capacity.
I have to give thanks to Scott Heisel for bringing this place to my attention, and Jason Pettigrew for taking me there. Jason described Melt as “full on death by carbohydrates”, and after seeing the camera phone picture of one of his previous Melt sandwiches, I was inclined to agree. Each slice of bread was as thick as 3 slices of Wonder bread.
First off let me say that I would eat every single sandwich on this menu so making my decision was very difficult. Should I build my own and put everything my girlfriend would yell at me about eating on one sandwich? Should I order the soup and sandwich combo and pretend I’m five years old and dunk the sandwich in the soup? Do I go way over the top and get the Westside Monte Cristo, which is very aggressive even before they deep-fry it?
I could not decide. So, I stopped thinking about it, sipped on my iced tea, and when the waitress came to our table and asked what I wanted, I just glance at the menu again and pulled a name out of a hat. That name was Municipal Stadium Magic. Locally produced bratwurst, napa vodka kraut, grilled peppers and American cheese.
This thing was a monster. I had been warned, but no warning could have really prepared me for what showed up on my plate. The bratwurst was thick and moist, the vodka slaw had bite, and the cheese was gooey, burned in just the right places, and overly abundant.
I had made the right choice. The only thing on the menu which would have been more geographically appropriate would have been the Parmageddon, which is a pierogie, kraut, onion and cheddar sandwich but I know that that sandwich would have been too much for me. I feel like I punished myself just enough with the Municipal Stadium Magic, and even though I devoured it like a savage, I was still able to function like an adult the rest of the day.
If I lived in Cleveland I would probably be here way more often than is healthy. This truly is my kind of place - great beer list, interesting menu items, no one bats an eye at a mid-day Pabst or Strongbow, and the decor is quirky but not overly kitsch. When am I going back to Cleveland?