Photos By Armando Gallardo, Words By Brandon Wetherbee
Sweetgreen, located next door, doesn’t have to worry. Melt Shop is not going to appeal to the salad regular. Potbelly’s*, located across the street, might want to worry. Melt Shop’s first D.C. location won’t put the sandwich franchise out of business, but it wouldn’t be surprising if line at the 19th and L NW location becomes shorter.
Melt Shop isn’t a grilled cheese mecca. They do have grilled cheese and they specialize in sandwiches that feature cheese that is grilled, but it’s more than grilled cheese. It’s just as unhealthy as grilled cheese, more so in fact, but there are more options. The options are quite delicious and quite bad for your heart. But you’re not supposed to eat this food everyday. This is treat food and should be approached as such.
Look at that stuff. It’s great. Most of it would not be recommended by your doctor. The slaw is nice and the tomato soup is quite good, but you should order the loaded tots and the burger melt. The loaded tots have bacon and cheese and jalapeño peppers and should be shared. The burger melt is a patty melt with a different name. More cheese, beef from Niman Ranch and more cheese. The cheese, mostly supplied by Widmer’s out of Wisconsin, is perfect for the sandwiches and tots. The menu is limited and well executed. The Melt Shop guys know what they’re doing. This is this first location outside of New York. There’s a saying about making it in that city and they’ve done that. There is not a saying about cheese via New York via Wisconsin coming to D.C.
Melt Shop will sell beer. From 2 p.m. until close, they’ll offer an Abita brew special to Melt Shop, Melt Hops. The $3 beer makes this a surprisingly good option for happy hour.
Melt Shop, located at 1901 L St NW, opens for business Wednesday, February 17. They’ll be open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Catering and delivery are coming soon. Gluten free options will be available.
*This was not meant to come off as an anti-Potbelly slam piece. Potbelly serves perfectly fine sandwiches, Zapp’s chips are some of the best chips and I’ve eaten their salad for lunch more times than I can remember. I think it’s the acoustic guitar playing dude. Stop having a dude play an acoustic guitar in all of your locations. Please. Keep supporting the arts, just stop it with the singing. Get a piano player or jazz clarinetist or metal drummer, anything is better than a dude playing an acoustic guitar.