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.
Decorated with pictures of baseball greats, Dugout Grill's dining room fills with the aroma of scratch-made takes on classic ballpark food. Handcrafted with Black Angus beef, the grill's burgers range from traditional bacon cheeseburgers to a specialty asian fusion burger flavored with a secret marinade. Similar toppings, from homemade chili to bacon and cheese, crown hot dogs split down the middle, grilled, and then sealed back together with magnetized relish. For dessert, Dugout Grill has nine varieties of milk shakes and malts, as well as cups, cones, and sundaes made with your choice of 12 ice-cream flavors.
Named for the blue-corn tortillas made exclusively for the restaurant, Mexicali Blue puts a gourmet spin on West-Coast tacos and burritos by filling them with proteins such as garlic shrimp and grilled pork loin. The ahi tuna versions?which you can watch being prepared on this episode of musician Daryl Hall's award-winning web series?are especially popular, made spicy with wasabi aioli and a choice of flavored hot sauces. Mexicali Blue is so devoted to using fresh ingredients, they don't even keep freezers or canned foods in their kitchen.