Grilled cheese bar put in Hedgcock

Meredith Gasco

Dining Services will open a new restaurant inspired by the grilled cheese sandwich this semester, located in the old Temaki & Tea location on the second floor of Hedgcock.

Melted, a “grilled cheese bar,” is an original venture by Dining Services, offering menu items based on the staple meal of a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup.

“What better to put on campus than grilled cheese,” said Nathan Mileski, the corporate executive chef of Dining Services. “It’s a really cool comfort food that would be widely accepted.”

Grilled cheese sandwiches are a popular item on campus and are a huge seller in dorm lobbies and dining halls, according to Mileski. Grilled cheese sandwiches were one of the most popular items at the Wildcat Den when the dining hall still had an à la carte option, he said. The decision last year to make the Den all-you-can-eat only also helped influence the decision for Melted, according to Mileski.

But students who were unhappy with Dining Services about the Den may not reconcile over the new grilled cheese option. Sky VanHouten, a senior social work major, pointed out that Melted is not the only place to find grilled cheese sandwiches on campus.

“I can go and make my own grilled cheese sandwich for cheaper,” VanHouten said.

The dorms also sell grilled cheese sandwiches for $1 each. VanHouten, an assistant supervisor at the Marketplace said she hadn’t even heard about Melted until she attended a supervisor’s meeting. VanHouten said employees at the meeting were told that they were no longer allowed to make grilled cheese sandwiches for students after Melted is opened.

“Students pay so much for a meal plan, and they can’t even get a grilled cheese sandwich (anymore),” VanHouten said. “They have to spend more money.”

There is some merit to the financial concerns. A plain grilled cheese sandwich at Melted costs $3.50. Money also played a role in the creation of the Melted concept, according to Mileski.

“It happened overnight,” Mileski said.

Originally, Dining Services considered several options for the Hedgcock space after Temaki & Tea moved to the new location off-campus, Mileski said. These included a new grab and go location and a bagel restaurant chain. But, these options were passed over either for being unappealing or too expensive.

“You have to look at other things, too,” Mileski said.

A license for a branded bagel chain didn’t fit into the budget, but the turnaround time needed to convert the space to accommodate a bagel chain wouldn’t have been fast enough for us to get something open this semester, Mileski said. Despite the change of plans for the restaurant space, Mileski said he is excited about the grilled cheese option.

“We’re going to twist (a familiar comfort food) and make it not so familiar,” he said. “We’re going to make it fun.”

Melted will open Sept. 12. Hours of operation will be 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday.