The Hub Introduces Grilled Cheese Restaurant: Melt Lab

By Alyssa Weston

Melt Lab, a counter service restaurant specializing in gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, opened in Youngstown State University’s Kilcawley Center at the start of the fall semester.

The restaurant is in The Hub and it replaced Tú Taco.

Melt Lab features eight sandwich options, from cheesy caprese and ham and Swiss to sweet-tooth satisfying PB&J and berry Nutella. The menu also features a vegan option. 

In addition, customers can order four sides, such as tortellini salad and homemade potato chips, along with a cup or bowl of tomato soup. 

Extras like bacon and cheese are also available for an additional cost.

All sandwiches come with a pickle spear and a 2-ounce sample of tomato soup, and they are listed with specific breads and cheeses. Customers are able to choose their bread and cheese upon request.

Tom Totterdale, food service director for Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services, said he expects Melt Lab will be successful.

“We are always looking to keep things fresh and new. This location gives us the ability to change the concepts up and try new things,” he said.

According to Totterdale, when choosing new dining concepts, Chartwells always considers dietary needs and restrictions, which is why it opted for a vegan option on Melt Lab’s menu. 

Although Melt Lab doesn’t currently feature a “create your own” grilled cheese option, Totterdale said it’s a consideration for the future, as well as adding weekly specials to the menu.

Brynna Snyder, a sophomore business major, said she thinks Chartwells made the right decision transitioning from the Tú Taco to Melt Lab.

“I think it tastes a lot better [than Tú Taco],” she said. “I like how they have the menu. I think [Melt Lab] would be better if they had a build-your-own sandwich option.”

Even though Snyder enjoyed her sandwich from Melt Lab, she was disappointed in the serving size.

“For paying $6 for a sandwich, the sandwiches are really small,” she said.

Snyder suggests Melt Lab should include a side with the sandwich.

Connor Hurst, a sophomore biology major, said he liked the caprese grilled cheese he ordered.

“[The sandwiches] are small, but they taste good,” he said. 

Hurst said he applauds Melt Lab for having a vegan option on the menu and catering to different dietary needs, but he suggested vegan customers specify that the bread, butter and cheese are also vegan before ordering.

Snyder also praised the vegan option and said multiple people in her classes have mentioned they were vegan.

“I think it’s a good option for [vegan students and staff] to have,” she said. 

Snyder said Chartwells should consider gluten-free options and other dietary needs for Melt Lab’s menu in the future.

Melt Lab is open 10:30 a.m. through 3 p.m Monday-Friday.

Melt Lab, Grilled Cheese, Kilcawley, YSU, Youngstown State University, Chartwells, Bacon, Vegan, Tomato Soup, Cheesy