Food & Drink

Award-winning grilled cheese and birthday cake shakes in Chelsea

The Melt gang just expanded their grilled steez from a tiny Midtown takeout window to a full-on, high ceilinged corridor of cheese decked in reclaimed oak and yellow bricks, which you should not follow towards that hack Oz's house, so you can instead stay and watch crazily high-tech, ridged cast-iron presses (with different highly calibrated settings for each cheese based on meltiness) automatically spring open in theatrical fashion when your sandwich is done.

They're still turning out all the old faves, but the new slate notably includes the Award Winner, which features blue cheese, cheddar, thick-cut bacon & homemade cranberry pepper jam, but has never had a full-time spot on the menu despite winning Best Grilled Cheese at this year's Big Cheesy contest after just nudging out an overweight Method Man from The Wire. They've also got the Thanksgiving Dinner filled with brie, smoked turkey, caramelized onions & cranberry jam, plus the 24 Hour Pork featuring "super sharp" cheddar plus pecan- & okra-smoked pork shipped from a smokehouse down south, as well as a new, more fondue-ish sauce for their cheesy tots, and a birthday cake shake that will eventually turn you into Pudgie the Whale

They've also got access to a heated plaza out back where you can happily indulge in a beer program highlighted by drops from Montauk Brewing Co -- they're the only place in the city that pours it, thanks to the brewers driving in kegs from out east in their Wrangler just so you can act up in theatrical fashion yourself.