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Metro, News

U Melt to bring innovative grilled cheese to Thayer

New eatery approved to open in former Nice Slice location before start of fall 2017 semester

Metro Editor
Monday, April 24, 2017

Already popular in downtown Providence, especially among Johnson & Wales students, for its unconventional take on grilled cheese, U Melt is moving to Thayer, aiming to open in the space formerly occupied by Nice Slice before the end of the summer.

A newcomer will be joining the ranks of Thayer Street businesses after a Providence Board of Licenses meeting Monday granted tentative approval for the opening of a U Melt on College Hill. The approval came the same day the owners received keys for their new location: the space at 267 Thayer formerly occupied by Nice Slice.   

U Melt bills itself as a “gourmet grilled cheese store” offering a number of  options ranging in complexity from the “Classic” sandwich of American cheese on white bread to a bevy of more specific delicacies.

“The Chipster,” for instance, elevates a simple cheddar and bacon on sourdough with the addition of BBQ Cape Cod potato chips. On a more sophisticated note, the “Turkey Brie” consists of brie cheese, roasted turkey and shallot fig jam on rye.

For those feeling a touch less sophisticated, the “White Trash” sandwich combines mac and cheese, cheddar and BBQ pulled pork on sourdough for a unique take on a traditionally simple dish.

At its downtown location, two salads are available — relatively tame interpretations of a Caesar and Greek — while another sandwich of sorts is available for dessert: the S’mores. Sandwiching Nutella, graham crackers and marshmallow fluff between two slices of raisin bread — the store’s singular sugary offering could even rival the fare of other Thayer Street sweet spots Ben & Jerry’s and Insomnia Cookies.

U Melt’s downtown location is adjacent to the campus of Johnson and Wales University, a factor co-founder Jonathan Kaufman said has been integral to the store’s success.

“Johnson and Wales is a great community,” Kaufman said, adding that the store has employed a number of JWU culinary students over the years who understand U Melt’s unconventional interpretations of grilled cheese.

“We get a little traffic from” College Hill, Kaufman said, “but we’re so excited now to share U Melt with the Brown and RISD communities, not to mention residents of the East Side.”

Establishing a location on Thayer has been a goal of Kaufman’s since he and co-owners Benjamin and Jessica Wood first opened U Melt in 2013. Kaufman met and befriended the couple while working for them during his studies at the University of Rhode Island and said that opening a restaurant together had been a mutual dream for years. 

Renovations, menu tweaking and other logistical formalities must be completed before U Melt can open, but Kaufman said that the owners are aiming to be operational by the end of the summer.

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