Ono, ooey gooey yummy news for Maui
THE Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant, is coming to Hawaii and will open first on Maui, in the new Lahaina Gateway center.
Why not Oahu?
"We're really comfortable on Maui," said David Cohn, president of the San Diego-based Cohn Restaurant Group Inc., which also owns Pineapple Grill in Kapalua.
The Melting Pot is fondue-focused, unlike any other restaurant in Hawaii, though some may offer fondue dishes or desserts.
"It's certainly about a food experience," Cohn said, "sitting down to a nice long dinner with friends ... around fondue pots."
Menu prices vary by market, but the Melting Pot Web site indicates an average check of $42 per person.
An option for diners is one of three four-course menus for two called "Big Night Out," for $84, $91, or $96 at the San Jose restaurant.
Diners start with cheese choices, move to the salad course, the entree course and then of course, dessert.
"It's a very low-calorie experience," Cohn joked.
There's not just one type of cheese fondue, there are four -- prepared at tableside.
In addition to the hot canola oil fondue, there are flavored broths.
As for chocolate fondue, there are nine choices.
The menu allows diners to opt for just a cheese fondue, say, at the bar, but other entrees, salads and drool-worthy items are pictured on the menu, which is torturous to peruse when hungry.
When food is made for an, "I dip, you dip, we dip," experience, to quote poet laureate Freak Nasty, the subject of double-dipping must come up, right?
"Double-dipping is always discussed," Cohn said. It is not recommended, and is avoidable given the size of the dippable food morsels, he said.
"We're just very excited about coming to Hawaii with Melting Pot."
Melting Pot restaurants vary in size and annual revenue, ranging from $1 million to $4 million. The Maui one will be very large by company standards, more than 6,500 square feet, seating around 220 with a staff of 50 to 60, Cohn said. Its target opening date is March.
Cohn is a multiconcept restaurant operator with a dozen different casual and upscale restaurants of its own creation in the San Diego area.
The Melting Pot will be Cohn's first franchising foray and it is with the Melting Pot Restaurants Inc., run by three brothers out of Florida. There are 119 locations with 30 more in development.
Cohn Restaurant Group is the area developer for Hawaii and has "signed to do multiple Melting Pots. The next one would likely be on Oahu," Cohn said.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com