Dip into something different at The Melting Pot

What’s a restaurant without an executive chef? It just so happens to be one of the most inventive, interactive dining experiences Long Island has to offer, as proven by The Melting Pot in Farmingdale. A casual, relaxed atmosphere with private tables and attentive service, The Melting Pot is the ultimate weekend (and weeknight) hotspot for diners looking to relax and have a little fun with their food. A fondue restaurant, guests cook everything themselves at The Melting Pot, right at the table, making for a truly hands-on, interactive experience.
“There’s nothing else around here like this,” says Rachel Birke, general manager of The Melting Pot in Farmingdale, who has worked with the franchise for over five years. “You get dinner and entertainment in the same evening.” Birke explains that a typical dinner at The Melting Pot lasts approximately 2 hours to enjoy the four courses and do-it-yourself fondue preparation and dipping.
Families and groups of friends alike enjoy the warm atmosphere. Though most diners fall between the ages of 25 and 50, Birke says, “kids between 5 and 10 years old love it too because they get to play with their food.” A specialty seating section with tables for two, nicknamed “Lover’s Lane” by the staff, makes for a romantic date spot, where kissing over chocolate is not uncommon. Located at 2377 Broadhollow Road, Route 110, only a block away from Adventureland and right across the street from SUNY Farmingdale’s campus, The Melting Pot is situated in a popular area right off the Long Island Expressway.
At The Melting Pot, each meal consists of four courses that the servers explain as guests prepare them. The meal begins with a cheese course, allowing guests to select from six types of cheese, which is followed by a salad—the only non-fondue course. Five types of salads are prepared with delicious dressings made in-house. On to the entr/es, guests can pick the perfect combination of meats, seafood and vegetables prepared with four different cooking styles, to dip in specialty sauces. Cooked in cholesterol-free canola oil, diners make the food right at the table. The meal ends with the famous chocolate fondue (“Everybody’s favorite course,” Birke says), with names such as Cookies & Cream, Flaming Turtle and Yin & Yang. For guests looking to stop in for a shorter visit, the bar features award-winning wines and specialty drinks, along with a tapas menu.
Starting in September, The Melting Pot will have a brand new Big Night Out menu option. A culinary journey through America, this selection features flavor profiles from some of the country’s most delicious regions. The Boston Lager Cheddar Cheese Fondue, Southwestern Cobb Salad, featured entrees including Lobster, Filet Mignon, Cedar Plank Salmon, Memphis BBQ Pork Tenderloin, Key West Shrimp, Honey Dijon Chicken and Spinach and Artichoke Ravioli, and a Cherries Jubilee Chocolate Fondue finale are sure to add something special to your evening.
“It’s the experience that people come here for,” Birke says. “Our mission is to provide the perfect night out. We don’t push people out the door…we want you to say for two or two-and-a-half hours.” The servers excel at making sure every occasion is recognized and celebrated, whether it is a birthday, anniversary, or other celebration. Birke says that guests are often surprised to find a card waiting on the table when they arrive, if the staff knows they are dining for an occasion. Diners can also pre-order celebration packages for their guest of honor, including flowers, balloons, and even golf packages.
For dinner, in addition to the regular menu selections, fixed-price dinners and wine dinners are available. Though The Melting Pot is a dinner-only restaurant, the Farmingdale location can accommodate large groups of up to 65 people in its private party room and will open for daytime events for groups of 20 or larger. The restaurant hosts Sweet Sixteen parties, bridal showers and baby showers, and offers a special menu to suit guests needs on these occasions. “[The Melting Pot] is different for those kind of events since we’re not a catering hall with robotic service,” Birke says. “It’s not the same old thing and people like that.”
The Melting Pot was first founded in 1975 with its first restaurant opening in Maitland, Florida, just outside of Orlando. Although the first menu consisted of only Swiss cheese fondue, beef fondue and a chocolate fondue for dessert, the menu offerings as well as the franchise itself began to expand as the popularity grew. Dedicated to building a tight fondue family, brothers Mark, Mike and Bob Johnston began franchising The Melting Pot stores in order to expand more rapidly. A far cry from that original menu, The Melting Pot today has become the country’s premier fondue restaurant franchise. Over 133 locations across 36 states, with more than 33 locations in development, are a testament to the chain’s popularity and quality offerings. Today, the franchise thrives despite the country’s economic downturns. In fact, Forbes named The Melting Pot one of the top 25 restaurants not hurt by the present state of the economy.
The Melting Pot was founded with the core values of hard work and service to the community in mind. In keeping with these values, the franchise has joined forces with St. Jude Children’s Hospital to fight childhood cancer. Through this partnership, guests at each Melting Pot restaurant have the opportunity to contribute to St. Jude’s through fundraising programs where proceeds go directly to the hospital. For example, with the purchase of one of The Melting Pot’s new fondue chocolate bars, $1 of the price will be donated to the hospital. The chocolate bars, at a cost of $4.95 each, are available to purchase in the restaurants or online at www.meltingpot.com. In fact, in 2005 The Melting Pot was named St. Jude’s Corporate Partner of the Year.
To date, according to Birke, The Melting Pot has raised over $2.5 million for St. Jude, and has a goal of raising $1 million in one year. To help achieve this goal, The Melting Pot of Farmingdale has planned a fundraiser for Oct. 6 at 6 p.m. where the restaurant will be shut down for the launch of its new fondue cookbook. The event will be a buffet-style cocktail party where guests can sample classic fondues and tasty hors d’oeuvres while sipping on fine wines and cocktails. For $65 per person, guests will receive a first-edition copy of the cookbook and all proceeds will go directly to St. Jude. Through the support of Long Islanders who have donated goods and services, guests can also participate in raffles and a silent auction to take home items ranging from original artwork to sports memorabilia from RealSportsFan.com to gift certificates to the exclusive Red Door Spa.
The fondue cookbook itself was published with the goal of helping people learn to properly cook fondue in their own homes. The cookbook is a compilation of various recipes from The Melting Pot, including popular cheeses, sauce, salad dressing and chocolate, with step-by-step instructions for preparation. “There are tricks to doing it,” Birke says. “We really want to bring awareness to people who want to do fondue at home but don’t know how.” Birke adds that the cookbook is as “green” as it could be, with environmentally friendly ink printed on recyclable pages.
Handicap accessible with ample parking in its own lot on Route 110, The Melting Pot makes dining out easy. Average checks range from $43-46, making the restaurant affordable for diners, and Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover are all accepted. The restaurant is open for dinner Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 4 p.m. through 11 p.m., and Sunday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Since reservations are strongly recommended, call 631-752-4242 to reserve a table. Visit www.meltingpot.com for additional information on one of Long Island’s most unique dining experiences. From the first dip to the last, you’ll be glad you did. Says Birke, “This is one of those places where amazing things happen all the time.”

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