St. Petersburg now has two restaurants devoted specifically to grilled cheese sandwiches.
There's no sign out front yet, but the long-awaited Central Melt quietly opened for business at 685 Central Avenue late last week.
The straightforward menu features six variations of the grilled cheese sandwich, including a Classic Melt using yellow American and cheddar on white bread, The Notorious P.I.G. with pork, red onion and bacon jam and the Garden State Goddess with avocado, arugula, cucumbers and mozzarella on wheat.
The standard grilled cheese side dish, tomato soup, comes served in "dip," "sip" and "gulp" sizes. There's also hand-cut fries, deep fried grilled cheese roll-ups and canned and bottled water to drink.
Central Melt joins the city's other grilled cheese specialist, Cincinnati-based Tom+Chee, which opened a location on 22nd Avenue North in December.
The narrow space features counter seating, a New York subway theme and an old-school hip hop soundtrack. A graffiti mural takes up an entire wall. The menus feature subway map design, and the metal counter has a yellow line similar to the one that warns riders they're too close to the edge of the platform.
There had been talk of Bodega manager Ed Allen opening the restaurant in the old Schoolyard Skateshop space near the State Theatre since last April. The storefront still features a Sealtest ice cream logo, a throwback to the space's days as a soda fountain.
Central Melt is open Monday through Saturday. The hours have been 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., but the restaurant plans to stay open until 9 p.m. nightly beginning July 28.