Review: Melt and Higher Gravity

Last week BK and I celebrated our eleventh monthiversary.* But last week was also a jam-packed week on the blog, so I decided to wait to write about our night out in Northside, where we had dinner at the revamped Melt Eclectic Cafe, followed by a beer from the newly-opened Higher Gravity Crafthaus.

Pretty often BK and I try to eat as healthily as we can. Seeing as we can be pretty gluttonous on the weekends, we make a real effort to be reasonable during the workweek. So given that and the fact it was a Monday and a number of restaurants are closed on Mondays for industry night, I set out to find a place to eat that would be good — both in taste and on the waist. (Really, I merely try to avoid fried foods and ranch dressing during the week.)

So to Melt we went, a vegetarian-friendly restaurant that once upon a time lived a little further north on Hamilton Avenue. In the past times I’d had Melt, I enjoyed its sandwiches with roasted potatoes, and loved French Toast during brunch. It was hard not to compare the two after trying Melt’s new edition, which occupies a store front in Gantry Apartments, a new building on the corner of Blue Rock and Hamilton in the heart of Northside. The former space was comfortable yet tiny, while the new space was much larger yet still comfortable.

Pad Thaiwich
Classic Mac & Cheese
The Rachel

I ordered the Pad Thaiwich with chicken (plus spicy peanut sauce, scallions, cilantro, shredded carrots, mung bean sprouts, cucumber, and baby spinach) and upgraded to classic mac & cheese on the side for $1, while BK opted for the The Rachel (smoked turkey breast, ruby kraut, swiss, and tangy sauce baked on Sixteen Brick’s OTR rye) with chips. As we usually do, we split half and half so we could each have two sandwich styles to eat. Both were delicious — I really liked the spicy peanut sauce on the Pad Thaiwich, and BK’s turkey rueben was awesome. Both breads they were served on were very good, and I also really liked the classic mac.

For $22 (before tax and tip), we were able to enjoy a really pleasant and satisfying meal — one that featured a truly eclectic interior and wonderful service before heading next door to Higher Gravity for a beer.

Photo Aug 07, 6 55 06 PM
Interior view of Higher Gravity and its walls of beer
Photo Aug 07, 7 45 03 PM
Garage door opening to Hamilton Avenue

Higher Gravity is a brand new craft beer and wine store with a garage door of windows that opens to Hamilton Avenue. When you walk in the walls are lined with retail beer and wine, while a grid of shelves provide options for playing games while you imbibe.

You are free to peruse the beer and wine selection in person, or you can sit at the bar and order from one of 14 taps and peruse the beer and wine selection on an iPad, which is searchable by brewery, beer, or style. You can also purchase a build-your-own six pack to go, or you can drink retail beer on the spot.

Rhinegeist Chester (saison)
Fifty West Tangelo Fruit Stand (IPA)
A flight the woman next to me got and I snuck a picture of

I loved the atmosphere at Higher Gravity, which was an open space with high ceilings and filled with natural light. Plus there were TVs to watch live programming (like FC Cincinnati matches), which isn’t a must, but something I always appreciate. The service was friendly, and we were happy to order from the tap menu, which wasn’t super extensive, but we each got a unique Untappd check-in: Rhinegeist Chester (saison) for me, and Fifty West Tangelo Fruit Stand (IPA) for him. We also made our own six pack with Blank Slate Fork in the Road and Blank Slate Lesser Path, in honor of the fallen; Listermann/Warped Wing Cuvee 75, Rivertown IPA, Against the Grain Rico Sauvin, and Jackie O’s Mystic Mama.

Higher Gravity is a great place to go get local beer (13/14 on the tap list were locals at the time) or international beer if you choose, as there was a small area with international brews. I would recommend this beer and wine store to anyone looking to have a beverage to unwind after a long day, or to hang out with a group of friends while enjoying a game.

Another wonderful date night in Northside.

Follow Melt Eclectic Cafe on Facebook and Instagram.
Follow Higher Gravity Crafthaus on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Melt Eclectic Cafe
4100 Hamilton Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio 45223

Monday–Saturday, 11am–10pm

Street, private lot

Other notes
Beer, wine, and cocktails are served from a full bar

Higher Gravity Crafthaus
4106 Hamilton Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio 45223

Monday–Thursday, 11am–11pm
Friday, 11am–12am
Saturday, 10am–12am
Sunday, 11am–9pm

Street, private lot

Other notes
Bring your own food or have it delivered; kid- and pet-friendly; free wifi

Featured image: Both Melt and Higher Gravity as storefronts in the Gantry building


Some background
Every month on our around the day we got married (the 8th), we decided to challenge ourselves to try somewhere new. This seems easy enough, but we want to be sure that we are still exploring, trying new places, and essentially still dating each other, even now as an old married couple.

In 2013, after about six months of dating, I started Tour de Cincinnati. I set out on a journey to try a new place or restaurant every week for 52 weeks of that year. I’m happy to report that I achieved that goal in both 2013 and 2014 despite the fact that it got to be pretty expensive and obligatory at times. We got to try so many places in this area and I am thankful for that, but over the past few years we have exhausted ourselves by always trying somewhere new (and not often being able to return to places we like). Making a point to do this once a month is not only a way to commemorate our marriage, but also give us the motivation to get out and explore this great city without breaking the bank.


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