Relationships aren’t forged over a quick bite to eat before a movie or concert. Instead, they need time to warm up and simmer, just like the decadent dishes guests enjoy at The Melting Pot, the area’s only fondue restaurant. “Somewhere between when the first piece of bread is dipped and the last piece of dessert is savored, you’ll be graced with the time to discover new things about the people you thought you knew,” said Lori Hagen, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Jerod Hagen. “Awkward silences don’t stand a chance, the fondue effect makes sure of that.”
Indeed, there’s something about a bubbling fondue pot that makes the conversation percolate, too. Maybe the cheese course warms up the crowd like an opening act. Or perhaps the accidental touching of fondue forks brings people together. “All I know for sure is that when you’re debating subjects like ‘chocolate double’ or ‘triple-dipping,’ the problems of the day fade and smiles rise all around,” Hagen said.
The interactive dining experience begins the moment guests walk through the door and is led by knowledgeable servers who have a passion for everything The Melting Pot embodies.
“You have to know the brand and believe in it,” said Hagen.
A sign hanging on a door in the kitchen is visible to the staff each time they walk out into the dining area and delivers a simple message that is also the perpetual goal of Hagen’s staff: The guest expects a good night out. They want a great night out. But they’ll always remember a perfect night out. “Our servers will lead you through the entire fondue process,” said Hagen, from making selection recommendations – including from a wine menu that boasts more than 200 wines – to how to dip, say, a succulent white shrimp or piece of Thai-peanut-marinated tofu to get the best results in one of four cooking styles, including Coq au Vin, Mojo, Court Bouillon and Bourguignonne. There are even gluten-free and nutritional menus available upon request.
Just about every night, there’s at least one celebration. “Birthdays, adoption days, anniversaries, promotions – you name it,” said Hagen. Just about every weekend there’s at least one engagement.
Regardless of the reason for the visit, The Melting Pot provides an opportunity to consume a variety of fresh dishes and a moment to relax, unwind and reconnect. “I think it’s hard not to speak with one another when you’re having fondue together. It essentially brings everybody together,” Hagen said. “Whatever happened before you walked in, you leave at the door. This is somewhere people come in to forget about their daily routines.”
The suggested dress is business casual and children are welcome too. “Kids are some of our biggest fans,” said Hagen. (Yes, there’s a Kids Plate on the menu, too.)
The Melting Pot doesn’t simply offer a tantalizing celebration destination. It also combines delectable food with philanthropy. Since 2008, the Hagens’ two locations – she also owns The Melting Pot in Lexington – have raised more than $90,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Order the Four-Course Classic – which includes your choice of cheese, salad, entrée and dessert – throughout the month of August for $77 per couple, and a portion will benefit St. Jude’s.
“LIKE” The Melting Pot on Facebook to participate in the weekly Friday Fondue Giveaways (www.facebook.com/MeltingPotLouisvilleKY). You can also join Club Fondue for exclusive invitations and specials on the website (www.meltingpot.com). You’ll receive a certificate for free chocolate fondue via email after you sign up.
“The Melting Pot is an experience and it’s an experience unlike any other concept,” Hagen said. “When you come here, you’re coming for the perfect night out, and that’s what we strive for every evening.”
Owners Jerod and Lori Hagen
Monday-Thursday: 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday: 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Saturday: 4 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Sunday: 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.
The Melting Pot
2045 S. Hurstbourne Pkwy.
Louisville, KY 40220
The Melting Pot location No. 2
152 West Tiverton Way
Lexington, KY 40503-4416
Reservations are recommended.
Big Night Out Four-Course Dinner
Every six months, The Melting Pot offers a new Big Night Out featuring regional themes and flavors. This season’s selection: Latin America. The Big Night Out delivers the complete fondue experience in delicious four-courses, including a creamy cheese fondue, fresh salad, succulent entrée and decadent chocolate fondue dessert.
Start with Queso Fundido, a fondue version of the classic Mexican dish featuring fontina, gruyére and gran queso cheeses, fresh jalapeños and crumbled chorizo. Then cool off with a refreshing Shrimp Ceviche Salad, a blend of citrus-marinated shrimp atop avocado purée and tortilla chips served with tropical fruit pico de gallo and a side of mixed greens tossed with a lime vinaigrette. Then choose from a variety of entrée selections, including Chimichurri Sirloin, Citrus-Marinated Pork, Cold-Water Lobster Tail, Garlic Piri Piri Shrimp and Fire-Roasted-Corn-Salsa Ravioli. Finish your meal with Dark and Dulce Chocolate Fondue, a classic flavor combination featuring bittersweet dark chocolate and sweet, thick dulce de leche accented with coarse sea salt.
Prices for the decadent four-course dinner range from $40 to $47 per person. You can also add a suggested four-course wine pairing for $14 and enjoy Portillo Malbec, Santa Rita 120 Carménère, New Age White Blend and Los Vascos Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.