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glenn

Melt: The Restaurant

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Glenn,

How'd your first week go??  It was great meeting you, and I apprciate you taking a little time out of your pre-opening craziness to talk to me.  I do have eome general "how do you take an idea from the drawing board to a reality" questions, but I'll ask again at another time.

Congratulations

Great meeting you too and thanks for the well wishes. The first week was mostly slow, but I keep forgetting that's what I wanted. I intentionally didn't spread the word to every corner on the planet in order to give us time to get things right. And that's a good thing. I no longer wear every other milkshake and the triple mixer knows who the boss is - most of the time. It was like training a pet (me being the pet.) I also realized there is no way in hell I could work our fancy milk steamer (for cafe au lait and hot chocolate) and get the the temperature right without a big thermometer. And lots of other stupid little things.

One of the biggest unknowns when I did my business plan was staffing. I thought that initially I could get by with an apprentice cook and myself. Wrong wrong wrong - I didn't realize the incredible amount of maintenance and constant cleaning that was required; I didn't plan on having full table service until people started sitting down and expected to be waited on; on that note, I never took into consideration that waiting tables in my type of establishment would require more than half a brain cell (new found respect for servers!); I never planned on practically having to beg vendors to take my money and do business with me, particularly paper vendors; I didn't plan on paper menus for in house service - I hired an artist who built an incredibly cool BIG chalkboard shaped like a piece of bread and was going to rely on that instead of menus - while it's an outstanding piece of art, it's not functional. People would stare at it, admire it, and then get lost in all the cheeses and toppings. Again, lots and lots of other stupid things.

I'm very fortunate that things have had a way of working out. - I found an all around person who does the cleaning, runs errands, delivers menus and even some cooking. I've also gotten better at waiting tables (and cooking and cleaning dishes). Despite all the small mishaps and catastrophes, I'm thrilled with the way things are going. People seem to love the food, the concept and even the service and nothing is more satisfying than making people happy.

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Good luck dude. I'll bring a strange group one morning.

All the best, Lou

Super! The stranger the better - maybe I'll sell more "ugly americans."

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Glenn--when your finished with the chores at Melt you can certainly come to my house for practice.

Congratulations on the opening.


Rosalie Saferstein, aka "Rosie"

TABLE HOPPING WITH ROSIE

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nothing is more satisfying than making people happy.

That attitude alone, coupled with your business background.... will get you 90% of the way to great success. Hard work is the other 10% and you've already got that covered. Congratulations!

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Good luck, I love the whole grilled cheese concept. Since you are a NJ operation, I'm hoping you'll have Taylor Pork Roll tucked into some sandwich or other. I know it's a NJ cliche, but, ohhh, so good!

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Glad to hear that Melt is up & running. Sounds exciting. Hope to get into JC one of these days.


Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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Glenn,

I noticed you open pretty early some mornings @ 7:00 AM. How do you do with the breakfast crowd?

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I've just found this thread. Love it; it's fascinating! Go Glenn!


A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness. – Elsa Schiaparelli, 1890-1973, Italian Designer

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Glenn,

I noticed you open pretty early some mornings @ 7:00 AM.  How do you do with the breakfast crowd?

I guess you haven't been by for breakfast! Actually, you should stop by around closing and watch me dump virtually the entire Eli's Bread danish order and 90% of my bagels :(. During the week, breakfast doesn't amount to selling more than coffee and an occasional waffle. This past weekend, we did a fantastic brunch but that was mostly waffles and a new breakfast sandwich concoction (brie) we came up with. I was also offering a basket of mini pastries and breads from Eli's, but sold a total of one basket between Sat. and Sun. It's all part of the learning curve, albeit expensive.

Either the area can't support weekday breakfast or people need more time to catch on. It's costly buying product every day, not to mention dragging myself out of bed at the crack of dawn, but I'll keep it up for another month or so to see if there's any interest.

On another note - and I beg the powers that be not to delete this - the party I had planned for all egluttoneers for the end of this month had to be cancelled. Unfortunately, I misplaced the contact info for one of the people that responded favorably and this is the only way I have of letting that person know. My apologies.

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Dee and I drove over on Sunday afternoon to check out Melt. It's located in a rapidly gentrifying area of Jersey City, on the border of the Harsimus and Hamilton Park neighborhoods. Lots of residential foot traffic, about three blocks from new office buildings and five blocks from the Newport Center development. I was surprised to find several parking spaces on the block

Pleasant, 18 seat resto, with wood tongue and groove to a wainscoating about four feet up, then dark brick to a 15 foot ceiling. Huge glass windows onto the sidewalk. Four tables were filled when we arrived, and there was a steady stream in and out.

Dee ordered the special #3 (montchevre cheese, fontina cheese, field geens, citrus dijon 7.50) and I ordered the special #1 ( shropshire cheese, tallagio cheese, tomato with basil pesto 8.00). An unusual treat is "original" CocaCola made with cane sugar, rather than the corn syrup version used in most US markets. I understand Coke makes a version distributed principally to Orthodox Jewish markets in the US.

I really enjoyed the Shropshire cheese special on Balthazar levain bread, thickly sliced. An unannounced ingredient was walnuts, which added to the crunch factor. The sandwich was lightly pressed, very gooey, and extremely fragrant.

Dee's montchevre special was good, but a little to "sweet" to our tastes, so we experimented a little. Moved some pesto over, which improved it. Added a little salt, which was less of an improvement. Decided that maybe an olive tapenade would give the right mix of salty and slightly bitter to contrast the very sweet and very white cheeses. Or, change the citrus dijon to one with cracked seeds. The Balthazar multi-grain bread was good, and took a very nice press.

Dee had a cafe au lait, which was fine. I had an IBC diet root beer, which had a very traditional root beer taste, almost like a Stewart's.

The featured ice cream is Bassett's, the Philadelphia super premium brand. I noticed several people came in for the ice cream and brownie special. They have a cinnamon ice cream version which is very fragrant. It would be wonderful with a warm apple pie (all pies and cakes sold out). Glenn thoughtfully sent over a tasting of the cinnamon.

All in, the bill was $20 plus tip. Very fair price. This is a quality operation, with a lot of pride in ingredients and visibility for the vendors like Bassett's. Glenn mentioned several eGulleteers had stopped in already, and that pleased him immensely.


Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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Rail Paul - thanks for the review. It's nice to get some first hand feedback from folks who are now able to check it out. I plan to do so but it's a four drive and will have to be part of a weekend visit to NYC this spring (spring already being present for most of you but here in central NY it's still winter :angry: ).

Glen commented

you should stop by around closing and watch me dump virtually the entire Eli's Bread danish order and 90% of my bagels :(. During the week, breakfast doesn't amount to selling more than coffee and an occasional waffle.

I think publicizing some sort of "to go" breakfast special might work well but much depends on people's path to work. We're creatures of habit and many people who are far more selective for lunch and dinner will grab what's easiest for breakfast and closest to their home or office. I should think that with a panini you could make a rockin' bagel sandwich or croissant sandwich.

You may want to look for a local homeless shelter or other not-for-profit facility that will take the unused pastries and bread products off your hands - get a receipt and it should be a totally legitimate write-off.

In some places breakfast just doesn't fly. I have a friend who started a fresh pasta restaurant here in Syracuse years ago (his widow now runs it and it's still doing nicely).

When he opened he offered a fantastic breakfast for relatively cheap - French toasts made from fresh dipped hand cut Italian bread.... fresh strawberries for the waffles.... low salt bacon obtained from a local small scale farmer who raised his own hogs.... real maple syrup.....

After two months of struggling to get people in the door he decided it would be cheaper to give everyone who walked in for breakfasts $2 and send them down the street to the diner where a $1.99 two eggs w/toast and home fries special was running every day. The solution of course was to stop offering breakfast but I undrstod his point - it's a tough meal to make money with.

That said.... you are in a very different socio-economic market in JC than we have traditionally had in Syracuse - there may still be potential there for a breakfast trade.

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I was just having a good look at Melt's menu and I'm totally in shock and awe. Glenn, Branston pickle?? Where did you find it? - tell me, tell me, tell me. Is it Crosse & Blackwell?? However as per usual nothing for the Australian's taste ... I'm gonna have to bring my own vegemite....

Cheers

Tom


I want food and I want it now

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However as per usual nothing for the Australian's taste ... I'm gonna have to bring my own vegemite....

Cheers

Tom

If you want your own malt sandwich you'll have to bring that as well :laugh:

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However as per usual nothing for the Australian's taste ... I'm gonna have to bring my own vegemite....

Cheers

Tom

If you want your own malt sandwich you'll have to bring that as well :laugh:

Don't worry, do you really think I moved to NJ without a couple of jars of vegemite and 2 tins of Milo?? :biggrin:

Cheers


I want food and I want it now

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Don't worry, do you really think I moved to NJ without a couple of jars of vegemite and 2 tins of Milo??  :biggrin:

I'm sure you dids but I refer to the "malt sandwich" that typically also contains hops and a fair amount of alcohol :wink: Glenn is not serving alcohol so you'll have to BYO but he does have killer chocolate milkshakes from what I understand.

Best to leave the Milo at home.

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Don't worry, do you really think I moved to NJ without a couple of jars of vegemite and 2 tins of Milo??   :biggrin:

I'm sure you dids but I refer to the "malt sandwich" that typically also contains hops and a fair amount of alcohol :wink: Glenn is not serving alcohol so you'll have to BYO but he does have killer chocolate milkshakes from what I understand.

Best to leave the Milo at home.

Mental note for me -- reread my foodblog :biggrin::biggrin:


I want food and I want it now

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Glenn--

Finally had a chance to really peruse the web site--luckily I did this AFTER lunch. Wow, you've got some yummy ingredients on your menu! Can't wait to try them!

In terms of your lack of a.m. weekday customers, I'm wondering if you have done/will do any direct marketing to the businesses in the area, i.e. discounts for anyone who shows a company i.d. card, distributing info and coupons to office managers, etc. I know that's what gets folks in my office to try a new place when it opens, and of course, if the reviews are good, the news spreads very quickly. Sending out a daily email with your specials is another good way to tempt them. I especially like the fact that you have the meeting/office breakfasts posted on the site--just think you need to be sure to get the word out to the people who are doing the ordering!


"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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Congratulations Glenn! Glad it's working out so well for you. Will definitely make the trek up from Philly some time to check the place out.

Initial reports in the press are quite favorable. You should be very pleased with yourself. And all those little "glitches" may be blessings in disguise. Having to print paper menus (I presume you do this on a PC) gives you the flexibility to change things at a moment's notice or to feature something that has a short shelf life or season or that might be a one shot thing (someone's homemade preserves only last until the jar is gone...). Having table service also allows you to develop a better relationship with your regulars - and they're the ones that are going to spread the word. Curlz made several good suggestions too. I used to fax the daily specials to several departments at once (even easier to do with e-mail!) at a restaurant on Temple University's campus. It really got the folks in the door and cut down on the nuisance phone calls about what the soup was that day.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Glenn my only answer to left over danish is....BREAD PUDDING i have never in my life made bread pudding out of bread....just make the custard with no sugar......its soo good all the different fruits from the danish all swirled together mmmmmm Saturday morning special warm bread pudding with whipped cream

tracey


The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

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Glenn,

I noticed you open pretty early some mornings @ 7:00 AM.  How do you do with the breakfast crowd?

I guess you haven't been by for breakfast! Actually, you should stop by around closing and watch me dump virtually the entire Eli's Bread danish order and 90% of my bagels :(. During the week, breakfast doesn't amount to selling more than coffee and an occasional waffle. This past weekend, we did a fantastic brunch but that was mostly waffles and a new breakfast sandwich concoction (brie) we came up with. I was also offering a basket of mini pastries and breads from Eli's, but sold a total of one basket between Sat. and Sun. It's all part of the learning curve, albeit expensive.

Either the area can't support weekday breakfast or people need more time to catch on. It's costly buying product every day, not to mention dragging myself out of bed at the crack of dawn, but I'll keep it up for another month or so to see

if there's any interest.

On another note - and I beg the powers that be not to delete this - the party I had planned for all egluttoneers for the end of this month had to be cancelled. Unfortunately, I misplaced the contact info for one of the people that responded favorably and this is the only way I have of letting that person know. My apologies.

Glenn,

Having lived & worked in the area most of my life, may I suggest a fax machine and a delivery service (i.e. kid on a bike). Get your daily specials out to local business, Hudson County Municipal Court, Probo office, Schools (St. Peters ect),

Libraries.

Believe me they will bring friends and are a loyal lunch crowd.

See You Soon,

Harry :cool:


I Will Be..................

"The Next Food Network Star!"

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Thanks for all the nice comments- I'm really taken aback.

Paul and Dee, it was great having you and seeing you again. I went over your comments about the shropshire with Jim and we tried the same sandwich with olive tapenade. It worked great, thank you thank you. That's the type of feedback we love [in addition to "Melt Roolz! :)]

Regarding the wasted pastries, I never thought anyone would want them, but thanks to the suggestions, I made arrangements for a homeless shelter to pick them up.

thanks again everyone.

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I really enjoyed the Shropshire cheese special on Balthazar levain bread, thickly sliced. An unannounced ingredient was walnuts

I forgot to comment on this statement - frankly it sent shivers down my spine when I read it and I spoke to the chef.

Indeed, there were walnuts on the sandwich and we did not state so on the specials board. It was a mixup that never should have happened. We made a similar special a few days prior that did have "announced" walnuts. The chef forgot that Sunday's special had no walnuts. Fortunately, no harm came of this, but both the chef and I are well aware that this is a mistake that never should have happened.

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Congratulations Glenn, hopefully my hubby and I will get out to visit the place soon. He's originally from JC so I don't think it will be too hard to persuade him.

Lisa

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