Owners of Meltz Extreme Grilled Cheese turn the well-loved classic sandwich into an adventure

Meltz Extreme Grilled Cheese is serious about comfort.

Owners Joe McCarthy and Matt Yetter have teamed up to take simple, lovable grilled cheese to new limits. McCarthy’s favorite, the Wingz Twist, is stacked with mozzarella, pepper jack, blue cheese, fried chicken, ranch dressing, celery slaw and buffalo sauce. Yetter’s top choice, and namesake, is the Matty Melt and features fontina, blue cheese, smoked beef tri-tip, grilled red onions, horseradish and huckleberry barbecue sauce.

The casual restaurant opened mid-June at 1735 W. Kathleen Ave. in Coeur d’Alene, the former home to Lil’ Polpetta. All of the sandwiches are made to order and are done in about 10 minutes.

McCarthy, who studied at the New England Culinary Institute, has worked exclusively at fine-dining restaurants. He travels about 16 weeks each year cooking for the drivers, staff and television crews for IndyCar Racing, where he whips up meals for up to 200 people at the track. He’s also worked for restaurants from New York to Georgia to Idaho, including a stint at Brix in downtown Coeur d’Alene.

Yetter is a friend and handyman who helped McCarthy with everything from the concept to the reconstruction and lighting in the new restaurant.

McCarthy used his fine-dining expertise to layer the flavors of the sandwiches. They are not stacked with cheap ingredients. “I want people to know that the combinations are very well thought out and tested,” McCarthy said.

He worked hard to create a combination of butter and aioli that gives each sandwich a crispy (but not too greasy) crust. Every order comes with a bit of frico – that delicious crispy fried cheese you break off to eat first – around the exterior of the sandwich.

Yetter said they tried to keep the prices approachable. “I want people to know that for $10 you’ll leave here stuffed.”

McCarthy said parking can sometimes be a problem since the small restaurant shares a lot with the gas station and another business in the complex. Customers can also park in the gravel lot next door, he said.

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