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melt-bar-grilledparmageddonpromo_0.jpg Photo courtesy of Melt Bar & Grilled
Melt Bar & Grilled was named a Breakout Brand by Nation's Restaurant News in 2013.

Grilled cheese restaurant Melt Bar & Grilled files for bankruptcy

Melt Bar & Grilled grew to over a dozen locations by 2017 but has since shrunk to four after navigating higher costs.

The 2024 wave of restaurant bankruptcies is showing no signs of breaking. Last week, Cleveland-based Melt Bar & Grilled filed for Chapter 11 protection, noting that it is struggling to pay bills to landlords, providers and vendors.

The company, founded in 2006 by Matt Fish, has four restaurants in Akron, Lakewood, Mentor, and Columbus, Ohio, but once had over a dozen, including company-owned and licensed locations. In 2013, it was named a Breakout Brand by Nation’s Restaurant News, recognized for its gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and selection of more than 100 craft beers and microbrews.

According to court documents, the company stated it was impacted by cost of goods and labor inflation, adding that a restructuring through bankruptcy will “ensure its immediate survival and long-term future success.” The documents show that Melt Bar & Grilled’s liabilities are $1 million to $10 million, while the company has about $500,000 to $1 million in assets. Over 100 creditors are listed.

Nation’s Restaurant News has reached out to Melt for more information about what’s next for the company.

It has been a busy two years for bankruptcy courts handling restaurant filings. Rubio’s filed for Chapter 11 protection earlier this month, on the heels of Red Lobster’s filing. Bankruptcy filings have come so far this year from Party FowlBoxer RamenTijuana FlatsSticky FingersOberweis Dairy, and Foxtrot/Dom’s Kitchen.

In 2023, Corner Bakery Café filed, as did major franchisees from Burger King, Wendy’s, CKE, Popeyes, Denny’s, and McDonald’s. Bankruptcy filings reached the highest annual total on record for private equity and venture capital-backed companies in the U.S. in 2023, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data. Overall, U.S. corporate bankruptcy filings reached a 13-year peak last year. 

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