This isn’t your average grilled-cheese-and-tomato-soup kind of restaurant.
At Souper Melt, you can order a classic grilled cheese — like GC-101 with Cooper sharp American and cheddar cheeses on toasted Canadian white bread — or try a foodie-inspired grilled cheese like the Mediterranean with mozzarella, feta, spinach, garlic, tomato, artichoke hearts, onion and kalamata olives on white artisan bread.
“How many standard grilled cheese sandwiches have you had in your life?” owner Kevin Cornish asked. “It’s amazing how many people come in and want to tell me what they have in their grilled cheese, from mustard to pickles. Everybody has their way that they were probably brought up on.”
Souper Melt opened on Second Street on Manchester’s West Side last July, but Cornish said business has picked up since then as people come in looking for a comfort food fix during the cold months.
Cornish isn’t new to the Manchester restaurant scene. He also owns KC’s Rib Shack, and he doesn’t have far to go between his two restaurants, since KC’s is located right behind Souper Melt.
His newest restaurant’s menu features 12 grilled cheese sandwiches, as well as a “Build a Melt” option, a three-step guide for customizable sandwiches (say, Muenster cheese on marble rye with Genoa salami if you’d like, or switch out the salami for chicken).
“I like having the selections for people that they may not think about on their own,” Cornish said. “Anybody can have a grilled cheese sandwich. … I think a lot of times people who aren’t necessarily foodies have a hard time conceptualizing … that they want apples in their grilled cheese. … We did the work for them.”
Customers can order a side soup from six of the restaurant’s daily and weekly soup specials.
“It’s a concept that I had seen out west, a couple of just grilled cheese specialty restaurants, and I thought it was a cool concept. Soup and grilled cheese just go together so well,” Cornish said. “I think one of the things that separates us is the fact we’re using large artisan bread. We don’t even have American cheese here.”
One of the more creative grilled cheeses is the Grace Potter (as in Vermont-based rock band, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals). Cornish saw a YouTube video of Potter making a gourmet grilled cheese on her tour bus and was inspired.
“I just always wanted to serve that sandwich at KC’s,” Cornish said. “The Grace Potter has hot pepper jelly on the bread with apples and bacon and Cabot cheeses.”
The sandwiches are all made on the grill top. Each slice of bread is grilled separately so cheeses and other ingredients can cook and melt before pressing the sandwich is pressed together.
“The cheese has always got to be the star of the show,” Cornish said. “You have to pull the two pieces of bread apart.”
Cornish said next he’d like to offer weekly grilled cheese specials, like the soups and salads, and is looking to add sweet grilled cheeses with ingredients like Nutella and brie.
As seen in the February 13, 2014 issue of the Hippo.