A Toast to a Childhood Classic: Grilled Cheese

Photo by Jeannette LaPointe.

Comfort food is a staple of childhood in America. Most people remember growing up with simple food that made them feel good and will always remind them of home. Amazin’ Melts in New Paltz looks to bring these simple pleasures back to its customers in the form of a grilled cheese-inspired menu.

The small, inviting restaurant opened on March 1 and has been aiming to find its place within the lively, foodie-centric community of New Paltz.

“Grilled cheese is comfort food,” said Debbie Gould, owner of the new restaurant. “Regardless of your age, we were all kids and most of us ate grilled cheese sandwiches, so it’s about that comfort food.”

The focus on recapturing youth through food is driven by Gould’s nostalgia for family, her desire to make every new face feel as if they’re a close friend and a love for the simplicity of a good grilled cheese.

“We love to make sandwiches and we missed having our kids and their friends around,” Gould said of the inspiration for the business.

Amazin’ Melts certainly delivers in its mission to provide food everyone can love. The menu is broken up into four parts: classics, specialty melts, sides and a “make it your way” menu.

Classics and sides include standard fare like chips, a basic grilled cheese and a house-made tomato bisque. Simple, however, does not mean plain. Each item is made with fresh ingredients and finds a sort of elegance in their simplicity.

Gould inserts her own personal flair through the specialty melts. An affinity for appetizers and lighter fair carved a place for items such as jalapeño popper melts and “The Garden,” which features avocados, grilled onions, goat cheese and a balsamic glaze on sourdough rye bread. A native of Philadelphia, Gould had to include a Philly cheesesteak on the specialties menu.

The “Make It My Way” menu is where Amazin’ Melts separates itself from other restaurants. Customers can choose the bread, including gluten-free options, cheese, including vegan options, and assorted toppings for their melt to truly personalize their experience and put their own spin on the comfort food classic.

The quality of the food comes from the freshness of the ingredients. Gould works to make sure a majority of the ingredients used at Amazin’ Melts are locally sourced. With sandwiches constructed on Bread Alone bread and ingredients prepared in-house, there is a large emphasis on quality control. 

“This time of the year we’re trying to get more produce on the menu,” Gould said. “Right now it’s been a challenge but we’re excited to explore our options with local farmers.”

The options from the “Make It My Way” menu and the availability of local ingredients makes for a menu that is constantly changing. Gould emphasized the weight of customer suggestions in these menu changes as well.

“The menu is going to change according to everyone’s suggestions,” Gould said. “Especially with the make-your-own menu there are things that people don’t necessarily like and we really do want people to have things their way.”

A focus on the customer, a welcoming atmosphere and food that just feels right make Amazin’ Melts a restaurant that fits the character of New Paltz and deserves the patronage of anyone with an appetite.

Amazin’ Melts is located at 235 Main St. in New Paltz. See the menu and visit their website at amazinmelts.com.