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Melt Bar & Grilled shuts down 2 locations, including one in Canton; plans for 'smaller footprint' with expanded menu

Owner Matt Fish cited a desire to return to Melt's 'hometown Cleveland roots,' and says a 'smaller footprint' will allow for things like a new expanded menu.

CLEVELAND — In an effort to downsize and put themselves "in a much better position for continued success," Melt Bar & Grilled announced Tuesday they have permanently closed two of their locations.

The restaurant in Canton's Belden Village served its last grilled cheese sandwich over the weekend, locking its doors for good on Monday. In addition, the location in Dayton has also been shut down.

"It's been five great years at both locations," Melt owner Matt Fish said in a statement. "However, we feel having a smaller footprint and getting back to our hometown Cleveland roots is incredibly important right now."

Fish, who called the decision "very difficult," cited a "rapidly changing" restaurant industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as his main reason for moving on from those spots, with staffing shortages forcing Melt to limit its menu for the last two years. He brought up similar concerns in 2020 when Melt left what had been its second-ever location in Cleveland Heights, and that space is now occupied by The Haunted House Restaurant.

With just six full-time locations remaining (four of them in Greater Cleveland and one in Akron), Fish believes the company will be able to provide better quality and staffing for its loyal customers. In that vein, Melt will be re-expanding its menu starting this March, bringing back "old favorites" including seven grilled cheese sandwiches, a classic starter, and a favorite salad. There will also be a re-designed website in February that Fish says "will enhance the guest and user experience."

"The bolder visuals, more robust content, and most importantly, noticeably leaner (in size) website coincides with the direction in which Melt Bar and Grilled is going moving forward," Fish added.

Besides the permanent locations in Akron, Avon, Independence, Lakewood, Mentor, and Columbus, Melt also serves up sandwiches at Cedar Point, Case Western Reserve University, and Progressive Field. Fish stresses those spots "remain open and are doing well."

"We've loved being a part of the Dayton and Canton community and want to thank all of our loyal guests and neighbors," Fish wrote. "We truly hope our friends and loyal guests will continue to visit us at our other Melt Bar and Grilled locations."

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