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Grilled cheese restaurant Melt opens on Banks Street

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Melt (2549 Banks St., 504-821-0102; www.melt-nola.com), a Mid-City restaurant specializing in gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, began a soft opening Nov. 7 that continues through the Thanksgiving holiday. Melt is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and hours of operation will expand after the official grand opening in early December.

  The restaurant from Barcadia partner Miles Tully Jr. originally was slated to open in June but there were construction and permit delays. The renovated building on the corner of Banks and South Dorgenois streets features 1,700 square feet of dining space on the ground floor, an open kitchen and a long granite bar.

  The opening menu includes starters such as tempura-battered Wisconsin cheese curds with marinara and ranch dipping sauces, french fries topped with choices of cheese, truffle oil or bacon, tomato-basil bisque and shrimp Cobb and Caesar salads.

  Sandwiches range from $6.95 to $12.95, and there is a classic melt made with cheddar, Swiss and provolone on multigrain bread. Kush's Melt features crab-boiled shrimp, pimiento cheese and basil aioli on pressed French bread. The Owner's special combines caramelized onions, Gruyere, tomatoes and house-made tomato jam on sourdough bread, and the Mama's Melt has sliced ham, brie, arugula and fig preserves on pressed French bread.

  Tully plans to add beer and cheese soup and macaroni and cheese to the menu of starters, and cheese and charcuterie plates will be added in coming weeks.

  The bar features six beers on tap and mostly local bottled and canned beers. Four wines will be offered on tap in addition to the list of bottles. A daily happy hour from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. includes a Wednesday special of half-price carafes of wine. On Friday, there are $5 Champagne splits.

  A rooftop deck and courtyard patio will open in early spring 2017.

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