Cheese Whizzes

Friday is Independence Day for the Melt franchise

Matt Fish is gearing up for the opening of his third Melt Bar & Grilled, set to happen this Friday, October 7. Located at 6700 Rockside Rd. in Liberty Commons, the 4,500-square-foot restaurant will seat 120 inside and 30 on the patio during warmer months. This outpost joins Cleveland Heights and the original Melt in Lakewood, which opened in 2006.

"There is so much excitement for the third location," says Fish, "both within the Melt family and among our customers and friends."

All three Melt outposts sport a similar look, vibe, and menu. But thanks to 17-foot ceilings, the Independence location will have a somewhat more grand vibe.

For menus and details, check out

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: For nearly a decade, Cleveland Independents has encouraged diners to choose independently owned and operated restaurants. It's the largest organization of its kind in the country, and it's thriving. (And, incidentally, it includes this writer among its board members.)

Recent changes to the organization's charter will result in an even larger membership base. A new associate membership will allow smaller food-related businesses — such as coffee shops, caterers, and pasta makers — to join.

"We see this as a means of expanding our concept while responding to the demands of other food businesses," says Marlin Kaplan, CI president and chef-owner of Dragonfly.

The organization is gearing up for its biggest happening of the year: Cleveland Restaurant Week, November 1 to 13. Participating eateries will offer $30, three-course, prix fixe menus. Find a list of members at

NEW TALENT IN THE KITCHEN: Big changes are afoot at Brothers Lounge, says club spokesman Patrick Sirl. With the recent hire of chef Mike Nadolski, a CIA grad and former executive pastry chef at Picasso's in Las Vegas, Brothers is kicking things up a notch or two.

"We're excited to have someone take our food to the next level," says Sirl, "and not just putting out the standard bar food."

New items include pulled-pork tacos with jalapeno slaw, fried shrimp po' boys, crab-crusted bass with tarragon cream, and grilled pork loin chop with bacon braised cabbage.

Brothers is at 11609 Detroit Ave.; learn more at 216-226-2767 or

VEG OUT: After four years of anchoring Akron's Northside District, the vegan-kosher restaurant Vegiterranean has closed. Posting on the restaurant's website on Sunday, October 2, owner-rocker and Cuyahoga Falls native Chrissie Hynde wrote: "We tried keep the restaurant going but...due to the current economic climate this has not been possible."

Opened with great fanfare in September, 2007, the handsome eatery eschewed all animal products, focusing instead on faux meats and veggie-based proteins. The man behind the menu, executive chef Scot Jones, did a commendable job coaxing big flavors out of his meat-free pantry, landing the spot on national lists of top vegan eateries.

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Douglas Trattner

For 20 years, Douglas Trattner has worked as a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. His work on Michael Symon's "Carnivore," "5 in 5" and “Fix it With Food” have earned him three New York Times Best-Selling Author honors, while his longstanding role as Scene dining editor garnered the award of “Best...
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