The doors of an anticipated downtown St. Pete restaurant concept have opened, at last.
Announced for the 600 Block in March 2015, owner Ed Allen's Central Melt sandwich shop made its debut Wednesday. Hungry diners can stop into the grilled cheesery at 685 Central Ave. between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. now through Saturday. Allen says he's trying to play the hours by ear, but that he plans to be closed on Sundays and stay open later next week.
Inside the former Schoolyard Skateshop space, Central Melt has a clean, urban interior. At almost 800 square feet, it's a cross between an abandoned warehouse and a subway in the Bronx, as Allen puts it, with a colorful graffitied wall. (The logo also pays homage to New York's M, E, L and T trains.)
On the food end, the shop's gourmet grilled cheese creations include The Notorious P.I.G. (barbecue pork, homemade red onion-bacon jam, white Cheddar, white American), Roast Beef on Fleek (roast beef, arugula, homemade horseradish sauce, roasted red peppers, asiago, Havarti), and Garden State Goddess (avocado, arugula, cucumbers, mozzarella).
There's also a lineup of salads, tomato soup (plus one for dipping, of course), hand-cut fries and deep-fried grilled cheese roll-ups, as well as canned soda and bottled water.
According to Allen, he's just really appreciative of all the support.
"Yesterday we sold about 40 sandwiches, and it was nice to see friends and everybody who's been following me," he said. "I've got a lot of love for St. Pete."
Editor's note: This post has been updated since its original publication.