Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Power of Word of Mouth

First, my friend Amy Mac kept telling me about it, and how people would stand in long lines to get in to the Lakewood location. Then word came it would be opening another location on my side of town, in Cleveland Heights. And now, Twitter is alive with breathless reports that the signage is actually going up as we speak. What's all the fuss about? A restaurant called Melt Bar & Grill, reputed to be one of the greatest and most creative purveyors of cheese-based sandwiches in the history of cheese-based sandwiches. I'm quite sure there have been admiring restaurant reviews galore, but I haven't seen them. What I have noticed with great interest is all the excitement and conversation about the place from people I know, like and trust. And that's more than enough for me. Stay tuned for a report on our first dining experience there. In fact, why don't you join me? The best comment on this string wins a free lunch (with me) there, at our earliest mutual convenience. A distinguished panel of judges is standing by. Meanwhile, my apologies to those readers outside the region. Still, we'd love to also hear your thoughts about the power of viral marketing--with restaurants, or any other damn thing you care to sound off about.

21 Comments:

At 8:38 AM, Blogger Kim said...

pick me, pick me!

I love Melt...
They are great because the food is quality. They don't skimp on ingredients, but it's not pretentious, either.

 
At 9:41 AM, Blogger Britta Waller said...

It looks pretty stupendous, but please tell me that Ohio is not as overrun with people tattooed with grilled cheese pictures as the website seems to hint!

 
At 10:40 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Kim, let's go for it. And Britta, I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I had such a tattoo planted on my posterior only last week.

 
At 5:13 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Okay, Kim, you're in. It opens in May, so we'll schedule something then. Looking forward to it.

 
At 9:16 AM, Blogger Amy said...

As your friendly Melt evangelist, please allow me to offer a few tips for success:
1- Have a backup plan. Melt is good, but if the wait is more than 2 hours, you'll end up drinking a lot of beer. And then you probably won't remember your sandwich.

2- Sitting at the bar is often better, faster. At the Lakewood location, the bartenders are friendly and provide attentive service. Unfortunately, if you have a party with more than three people, it won't work.

3- Sharing is not penalized. Sometimes, when I go with my boyfriend, we'll share the veggie of the day and a sandwich. I still leave stuffed with Melt goodness.

I hope these strategies help you have a more enjoyable Melt experience.

 
At 9:24 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I think they should pay you for all that evangelizing, Amy. I'll surely let you know how it goes the first time I experience it.

 
At 7:56 PM, Anonymous j said...

Tonight my son went to Melt in Lakewood with 15 friends. They had a nifty solution to the wait-time dilemma. One of the 15 was posted at Melt, and the rest went bowling! When the table was close to being ready, the waiter told the waitee, the bowlers were called and the transition would have been perfect if the waiter had counted the seats properly. Ooops. They waited an extra hour and a half.

The food was excellent though, and if you are tempted to order "The Italian," he'd recommend it. :)

He brought home a piece of chocolate-peanut butter cheesecake that was a decadent and mouth-watering work of art.

 
At 10:20 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

That's a pretty large group. They were lucky just to get seated.

 
At 5:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My prediction is that you will say the place is a little overrated. I think it depends on what you order. The food is good, but i am not sure you want to wait over 2 hours for burger with a wad of cheese. Their reputation carries more weight then the actual product. Try it for yourself. I was bit underwhelmed. You owe me lunch anyway.
Out.
MFH

 
At 11:05 PM, Blogger Greg L. said...

It seems so "Cleveland", people clamoring for basic cheesy goodness, like football helmets without a logo.

 
At 11:10 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Good point, Greg. While the vibe of the place is interesting, and the people are nice, the menu itself feels pretty unhealthy.

 
At 7:48 AM, Blogger mikekeat said...

been to the lakewood melt a few times and been quite impressed, even w/ Melt's basic s'wich. the last time I went, on a Monday afternoon, there was a brief wait to get a table--on a Monday afternoon, after the lunch crowd. even jaded Cleveland Hts folks will take notice. Mike Keating

 
At 12:58 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Let it be noted that that parting zinger about jaded Clev Heightsers was delivered by a long-time west sider who now lives in Atlanta.

 
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