Wednesday, August 1, 2012

First Look: Melt

Posted By on Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 7:00 AM

The exterior of Melt (left) includes several yarn-bombed trees. Melt general manager Britt Bauer (right) about to play a round of Skee-Bowling in the cafe. - LIZ MILLER
  • Liz Miller
  • The exterior of Melt (left) includes several yarn-bombed trees. Melt general manager Britt Bauer (right) about to play a round of Skee-Bowling in the cafe.

On the southern tip of the south Carondelet neighborhood of St. Louis sits the Patch, a quiet collection of streets in south city not far from the Mississippi River. On Tuesday, June 12, Melt (7700 Ivory Avenue; 314-638-6358) became the latest addition to Patch, the newest tenant of neighborhood residential and commercial property management company Steins Broadway, which also rent to nearby Perennial Artisan Ales (8125 Michigan Avenue; 314-631-7300) and Halfway Haus (7900 Michigan Avenue; 314-256-0101).

Melt general manager Britt Bauer describes the combination coffeehouse, cafe and bar as a destination location: a creative, interactive space unlike any other in the city. Bauer says the menu at Melt will evolve as the cafe grows, but its current selection of specialty waffles, ice cream, smoothies, coffee drinks (spiked coffee drinks are available, too), cocktails and beer offers something for everyone at any time of day.

The "Doll Parts" lavender martini ($6) and "Knockout" waffle ($6) at Melt. - LIZ MILLER
  • Liz Miller
  • The "Doll Parts" lavender martini ($6) and "Knockout" waffle ($6) at Melt.

Waffles, like most things at Melt, go above and beyond expectation. There is the "Knockout," made with Ghirardelli cocoa batter, mini chocolate chips and drizzled with fudge; and the "Violet Beauregarde," a classic blueberry waffle with whipped cream; the "Sweet Dee" comprised of peanut butter and chocolate; the "Granny," a blend of apple pie and cinnamon; and of course the "Haus" waffle, served plain with syrup. (All waffles are $6 and can be made gluten-free.) The fluffy, bright texture and taste of Melt's waffles comes courtesy of Pint Size Bakery (3825 Watson Road; 314-277-0882), which is where the cafe buys its batter.

Before joining the Melt team, Bauer spent years studying art and working in Art City at the City Museum. "Working at the City Museum had a big part of making me think about art and business interacting," Bauer says. A three-year stint working in glass-blowing in Portland, Oregon broadened Bauer's approach to art and business - and sharpened her food and drink prep skills, thanks to a handful of barista gigs. Several menu items at Melt reflect Bauer's time in Portland, including the "Doll Parts" lavender martini and the "Hwy. 101" whiskey orange press. (Both $6.)

"I would go to bars [in Portland] for the lavender martini, get one drink and then leave. It was all I wanted. The whiskey orange press I also brought back from there, hence [the] name Hwy. 101," she says. Brews at Melt include the "Brown Bagger," Pabst Blue Ribbon served in a brown paper bag ($1.50) and the "750," Perennial Artisan Ale's seasonal beer ($11). The cocktail menu -- or hooch menu as Melt calls it -- features tipples such as the "Nickle Sack," gin and juice ($4); the "Ninja," chocolate martini ($6); and the "Mia Wallace," shake and bourbon ($5).

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