Sharing space in a modest strip mall with a Conoco gas station convenience store and a Take ‘n’ Bake pizza place, Meltz does not look like the interesting restaurant it is. “Extreme grilled cheese” is its stated mission, and the specialty sandwiches really are far out: items like the Korean Krazy, which is provolone and pepperjack cheeses, barbecued beef, kimchi, crushed sesame sticks, scallions, hot pepper ketchup, and cilantro. I like mine on sourdough bread, well-buttered and grilled to a fare-thee-well. Whole wheat bread also is available. The Korean Krazy earned a first-place trophy in the 2014 National Grilled Cheese Invitational competition.
A few other dazzlers from the menu are the Oinker (cheddar, pulled pork, bacon, creamy pasta, and buttermilk fried onions), the Briqueso (cheddar, brie, roasted artichokes, red peppers, caramelized onions, garlicky spinach, grilled zucchini, and sundried tomatoes), and the German Curd (cheddar, pretzel-crusted cheese curds, bratwurst, braised sweet onions, and bacon sauerkraut with stone-ground mustard sauce). Recently, an old favorite has been added back to the regular menu: The Idahoan is meat loaf (pork, beef, veal) with mashed potatoes and chili glaze, colby jack and cheddar cheeses, and a vein of roasted garlic.
Simpler sandwiches of merely cheeses also are available, and it is possible to create your own sandwich by specifying which of the several cheeses, veggies, and meats you like. Available cheeses include Cheddar, Fontina, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Colby, Swiss, Provolone, Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Gruyere, Brie, Blue, Chevre, American, even Cheez Whiz.
Beyond the assembly of fantastic ingredients, what gives these sandwiches an edge is that they are made on thick-cut bread that gets masterfully grilled to crusty succulence. It is not uncommon for cheese to ooze out and turn crunchy on the grill, creating yummy little wings that extend well beyond the slice. Because the sandwiches tend to be complicated and are, of course, made to order, the wait time is a good 10 minutes. When your order is ready, your name is called and it’s up to you to tote your tray to a table in the small, crowded dining area.
To go with the sandwiches, Meltz makes thick-cut potato chips (from Idahos, of course) that are salted and brilliantly seasoned.