Several years back, a business partner (who is, in my estimation, one of the best chefs I’ve come across) and I created a restaurant concept. It’s called Melted, featuring gourmet grilled sandwiches, cane sugar colas, and a damn fine beer list. The design is retro-cool-grunge with recycled decor, local art & music, less than twenty seats, and an obvious sense of quirky ownership – me, a writer who loves typewriters (and all associated manual typography) and him, a brilliant chef with a showy & shadowy history, and both of us with the singular desire to become a local darling.
The relationship crumbled, but Melted still made it. Just in a different name, location, and with a different partner (his current GF). It’s now Commonwealth Sandwich Bar, located in Columbus, Ohio. The food reviews are positive. Just a landing page of a website for now (can’t scope out the menu!), but several of the reviews mention an awfully similar sandwich selection and menu:
* From Columbus Alive – “The cleverness extends to Commonwealth’s attention-commanding, mostly sandwich menu. This kinda witty little document is instantly appealing in its clean and retro/mod form (simple black and white, implementing old-timey filigree and typewriter font without succumbing to hokeyness) and scratch-made content (house-cured bacon, house-made pickles, house-roasted chicken, house-made sauces and so on). [This review goes on to mention the Sweet & Savory, “a jammy caramelized fig compote gave it the sweet component and crazy tender, succulent chicken brought the savory. These came wrapped in the warm embrace of melted swiss cheese…” as well as the handcut french fries.]
* From The Lantern – “…the Spiced Chicken sandwich, made with roast chicken, house-cured bacon, cheddar cheese, shaved red onions, port wine barbecue sauce and pickled jalapeños.” – and “Elvis Lives, features spicy coconut-spiked peanut butter, sweet cream cheese and bananas. This is the Young Elvis version, but you can just as easily try the Old Elvis, which adds house-cured bacon.”
Compare & contrast. Here’s our original Melted menu:
Two things will kill me if they come to be true: if the sandwiches are served wrapped in butcher paper (and/or if butcher paper is on the tables) ; if the menu is plastered on old classic rock record covers. That’s just too much of me.
All things said, I’m happy for him (and I guess by association for her?). Their current menu is a bit more bacon/pork-oriented than cheese-oriented — I think that’s a little odd given Michael Symon’s professed fanaticism for all things pork — but it’s good to see that he’s back in the kitchen, that he’s running his own ship, and that he’s happy.
[And to Chef Erik Till, who I’m sure visits and browses occasionally – nice job. May it be everything we worked for it could be.]