St. Augustine is an unusual town. We have a bit of that Mayberry feel – everyone knows everyone and you can barely walk down the street without seeing a familiar face. At the same time, our tourist population and grilled cheese allows for small, niche businesses to survive and thrive and not feel the strain of a limited demographic. Case-in-point – Maker’s Melt Gourmet Grilled Cheesery. Opened in September of 2016, the brainchild of cousins Francesco Aloisi and Stephen Dimare (of Hyppo fame) has deep culinary roots in Franceso’s native Italy.
The little eatery clearly has a passionate team behind it. Charming details and a trendy decor (like Edison lightbulbs and minimalist grilled cheese wall decals) abound and cleverly named dishes reveal a deep interest in making every part of the experience delightful.
Each dish is served on a small block of wood, burned with the logo and a quote in Italian, a nod to the quirkiness of the whole shop. The first melt on our planks is The Mouse Trap ($8.95), a twist on the classic grilled cheese filled with sharp cheddar, havarti, Monterey Jack, and homemade caramelized onion. You remember those commercials where they pull the grilled cheese apart and you get to see the melting cheese in the middle? That’s this sandwich times 10.
The next melt deviates even more from a traditional grilled cheese. The base cheeses on The Port of Call ($8.95) are Monterey Jack and baby Swiss, but in between the cheese is roasted garlic, chorizo, and avocado. The chorizo adds an unexpected bite to the dish without bringing an overwhelming heat. It’s easy to forget this is a simple grilled cheese.
To quench your thirst, Maker’s Melt offers a variety of fresh-made Italian sodas ($3.50). Each drink is made in-house with syrup, carbonated water, fresh fruit, citrus garnishes, and a little ice. Paired with our melts were the traditional Blackberry and an edgy Hibiscus Habanero Lime.
If somehow a melt and soup don’t fill you up, the eatery boasts homemade desserts ($4.50) – a traditional Tiramisu and a seasonal flavor (we were introduced to the creme brulee). Rich layers of cream and rum and vanilla-soaked lady fingers, sprinkled with cocoa powder, are the perfect end to a meal.
Maker’s Melt is a delightful and delectable spot for a special lunch outing or just an everyday craving. And trust us, you’ll be craving it soon.