When The Melting Pot originally opened in 1975 just outside Orlando, the location was cozy and quaint, but diners had only three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. However, as the restaurant grew in popularity, so did its menu selection and atmosphere. The restaurant first expanded four years later under the leadership of a Melting Pot waiter and enterprising college student named Mark Johnston, who teamed up with his brothers Mike and Bob to open a new outpost in Tallahassee. This location grew in reputation to pave the way for future franchise expansion. Today, the company—now owned by the trio of siblings—reigns as the premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants linked by underground tunnels. The restaurant's menu has also ballooned, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, meats, and molten chocolate.
On a given night, groups of foodies gather around tables to nosh on signature four-course meals, from cheese-fondue appetizers and various salads to steaks and seafood cooked in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and couples can share decadent evenings at private tables, capping off meals with chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.
The soaring tunes of weekly live musicians and the enticing scents of café fare mingle midair before drifting across the comfy couches and photography speckling Doug's Hideaway Café. The menu offers a who's who of italian meats tucked below a blanket of veggies, oil, and vinegar with the hoagie-roll-wrapped Italian Stallion ($6.99), and the healthful Hideaway wrap's mix of turkey, dried cranberries, and candied walnuts packs fewer calories and more taste than an astronaut’s entire freeze-dried Thanksgiving dinner. Daily rotating soups ($2.79 for a small, $3.59 for a large) accompany made-to-order sandwiches ($5.99) and leafy salads ($3.59–$6.99) with steamy, aromatic draughts.
Karen Doman, the personal chef behind the scenes at Dishin' It, lends her expert hands to clients’ kitchens for a variety of services. As a personal chef, she consults with clients and helps them plan customized menus based on dietary needs and personal preferences. She takes care of all the shopping and cooking, and leaves dishes prepared in clients’ freezers with full instructions for reheating. Karen also plans dinner parties, romantic meals, and private cooking classes, using her knowledge as a French Culinary Institute graduate to teach customers how to prepare mouth-watering dishes such as ratatouille, poached pears in caramel sauce, and halibut with shrimp and scallops served over risotto.
Alex Rubeo wants to take you on a journey. Crossing the threshold into Mariela's Wine Bar, rich hardwoods and a humble atmosphere aim to transport the senses to a faraway place—to France, or maybe Italy—where visitors sip glasses of wine, share intimate conversation, and snack on shareable plates. Alongside pours from the rotating selection of wines by the glass, live music and tastings add to the relaxed atmosphere of cozy tables, a well-stocked bar, and the occasional Snuggie-clad bartender.
At Sweetooth Katonah, culinary-institute pastry chefs carefully curate locally sourced, premium ingredients to craft the batter for daily-made cupcakes. Treats rise from the foundation of locally sourced flour, eggs, and cream. Cake flavors range from flourless chocolate to orange essence to traditional licks such as carrot-ginger cake, with most sweets topped with dustings and dollops such as bittersweet chocolate ganache and chai spiced frosting. In addition to whipping up tiny treats, Sweetooth Katonah churns out ambrosial cakes for birthday bashes or retirement cubicle burnings and sates thirst with creamline milk and organic, direct-trade-certified Counter Culture coffee.
The traditional dishes of Japan, Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia make their way to Ten Asian Bistro's tables prepared to dazzle any hungry guests who've taken seats inside. Instead of reciting the prologue to Beowulf as they await their meals, diners can watch chefs craft sushi rolls from gourmet cuts of fish and savory accoutrements such as tobiko, scallions, and tempura breading. A panoply of noodle dishes, including pad thai and chow fun, team up with a choice of four meats to sate carnivores, and a steaming wok infuses shrimp and scallops with flavors such as lime, lemongrass, and pineapple. Sake and other spirits inspire toasting before meals, and catering services facilitate noshing in homes, offices, and epicurean mosh pits.