Super-specific comfort concepts like grilled cheese diners, meatball shops, and peanut butter-and-jelly specialists have always felt like they were more New York City’s to get excited about. An island of so many transplants, no price tag seems unreasonable enough for a taste of home, even if these are the kind of dishes most people in normal neighborhoods are content to make on their own at a fraction of the cost. But L.A. seems to be slipping into this type of culinary catchphrase, with a food truck for every nibble, Neal Fraser’s recent swan-dive into hot dogs (and maybe doughnuts), burger shacks by Nancy Silverton and Josiah Citrin, Ludo’s rumored fried chicken enterprise, and that grilled cheese concept Eric Greenspan teased us with over the last three years. Well, it looks like Flip-phone creator Jonathan Kaplan might be beating Greenspan to the punch, as Eater reports his San Francisco-based chain, The Melt, complete with a Michael Mina menu, could be coming to Hollywood.
Taking over what was once Bodega Wine Bar at Sunset and Vine, Melt features computer ordering systems in a supposedly line-less space that brings gooey grilled sandwiches, soups, and salads to your table in a rough minute, for a combo priced at $8.75 and up.
Mina’s sandwiches, served alone, cost $4.95 a piece and come in upgrades of your usual slice of plastic-wrapped crap on Wonder Bread, as found in a Brie with honey and apple on country bread, bacon reuben metls, and fontina and provolone on garlic bread. Not exactly the kind of complicated constructions we’d expect from a chef of his caliber and sure, you could probably just make it yourself at home. But are you gonna? Exactly.
And maybe such niche concepts aren’t entirely deserving of turning our noses up at, no matter whether or not they symbolize the break with grounded everyday reality most of us former suburbians suffer as city folk. After all, we’d be the first to foam at the mouth for Angelini’s Arancini or Son of a Gun’s Shook-Fil-A Sandwich Depot.