Matt Fish opened the original Melt Bar & Grilled in Lakewood just six and a half years ago, and what's happened since is nothing short of amazing. In that time, the grilled cheese-and-craft-beer-themed eatery has added locations in Cleveland Heights, Independence, and Mentor.
There's been a lot of chatter about Melt's next big move, but Fish and company have been pretty tight-lipped about when and where that move would take them.
Now we know: Columbus.
"The buzz down there already has been pretty heavy," Fish admits. "They knew we were coming, but they did not know where or when."
The where is The Hubbard, a new five-story mixed-use building at the corner of Hubbard Avenue and North High Street. Located in the heart of the Short North area, the address is one of the most attractive in the entire city.
The when is November 1 at the latest, he says.
"I was approached by a developer to be one of the anchor tenants in a new building on High Street," Fish says. "It's an amazing spot. That's the only reason why I pulled the trigger to do it now instead of waiting another year like I planned. It's one of those opportunities that are too good to pass up."
The 5,000-square-feet space will most closely resemble new construction locations like Mentor and Independence. It will accommodate 140 guests, including the 30-seat bar. The beer list will contain 100 to 120 beers, 40 of which will be on tap.
"This will be the same concept, same menu, but a slightly different theme," Fish explains. "The design will be more Ohio-centric — still heavier on Cleveland memorabilia, because we're a Cleveland company — but it will be more of a melting pot of Ohio, with Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati stuff."
When the Columbus location opens its doors, the Melt family will grow by about 65 staffers to a total of 365, Fish says.
"We really turned the corner as a company when we opened Independence and Mentor," Fish explains. "We've become a professional company with a management team, training programs… It's almost down to a science."