Highland Square has filled another one of its empty spaces. This one was the original home of Mr. Zub’s Deli, and after that, it housed Cheese and Chong’s. Now, after sitting empty for over a year, It’s serving up sandwiches from Twisted Meltz.
Twisted Meltz is a fast-casual sandwich and ice cream shop. They’re open for business now, with a “good vibes” neon sign above the service window, and a drippy, melty mural by Art Bomb Brigade covering the largest wall.
When I met with the owner, Steve Tannous, the space was still dusty and the details were still coming together. We chatted over a scoop of ice cream while he detailed a tabletop.
Tannous, who grew up in Lakewood and spent 15 years working in sales, decided he wanted to open up a restaurant after falling in love with all the fun food on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives series. He established Twisted Meltz in Kent in 2013, featuring a whimsical menu of grilled cheese sandwiches named after Kent State University Alumni.
A second satellite location of Twisted Melts opened inside of Dominic’s Pub in Cuyahoga Falls this January.
The choice to open up a third Twisted Meltz — this time in Highland Square — was easy for Tannous. He moved to the area in 2019 and fell in love with it. “It reminded me of where I grew up — the diversity and walkable neighborhood. I feel at home here.”
When I asked Tannous if he was worried about being in competition with Zub’s right across the street, Bob’s Hamburg’s inside Ray’s, and Mary Coyle’s ice cream next door, he quickly said, “No! There should be more unique dining experiences in Highland Square! It’s not a competition, it brings more people into the area and helps everyone.”
He’s right. People visiting Twisted Meltz are extremely likely to visit other shops and restaurants, while customers from other places are likely to be curious about Twisted Meltz.
Now, about the food… whether you’re a proud carnivore or herbivore, you have something to get excited about on this menu.
Twisted Meltz serves sharable fried appetizers, grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers and ice cream. Tannous cares a lot about the products he uses in his sandwiches and sundaes. The cheese is thoughtfully sourced from Wisconsin, and the ice cream is from Ashby’s in Michigan.
Everything at Twisted Meltz is made to order, and most sammies are available vegan and/or gluten-free with a few simple substitutions.
Tannous is most excited about this new location of Twisted Meltz because he believes it could become a staple in town. Also, the kitchen is the biggest one he’s ever worked with, so he’s thinking about expanding the menu eventually. “Maybe some loaded mac ‘n cheese bowls,” he hinted, “I always wanted to offer those.”
After spending the summer focusing on Twisted Meltz, Tannous plans to take over operations at the Matinee in August. He wants to give the place a facelift — update the floor, ceiling and bathrooms, and install a garage door out front facing the sidewalk. “It’ll be mostly the same,” he told me reassuringly.
Twisted Meltz is open from 11am to 10 pm Sunday-Wednesday, and 11 am to 11 pm Thursday-Saturday. Follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for updates and job opportunities. Welcome to the neighborhood! Let’s get Twisted!
Emily Anderson believes there is no such thing as too many sandwiches.
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