Central Melt is the latest addition to casual fare in the downtown St. Petersburg area. This small spot is on Central Avenue and 6th Street North (nestled next to State Theatre) and has been slinging sandwiches for about a month now. The interior has counter seating that’s perfect for a quick bite, and diners can look right into the kitchen and see sandwiches being pressed and hand-cut fries being dropped into hot oil.
The menu is a little bit limited, but that’s just fine because Central Melt isn’t destined to be a jack of all trades, and master of none. They truly know what they are doing when it comes to sandwiches, soup and fries, so hats off to them. I wouldn’t be surprised if they added more sandwich combos in the future, but don’t worry. The current menu is a crowd pleaser, and prices are good as well. Sandwiches clock in just under $8, and fries go for just under $4. If you just want a “dip” of soup for your sandwich, Central Melt hooks it up for 96 cents. Cool!
I ordered the Garden State Goddess, a delectable mozzarella sandwich perked up with avocado, arugula and cucumber on wheat bread. The ingredients blended together perfectly, but the bread was what I really loved about the sandwich. The sandwich wasn’t burned, or overly soggy. It had a crisp, buttery outside, but the bread was still easy to bite, and chew, and wasn’t dried out. I dunked the sandwich in a fresh, house-made tomato soup, and each bite was better than the last, but bittersweet. I didn’t want it to end.
My friend ordered the special that day, and it was indeed special. The Eddie Muenster was the creation of the day, and it was superb. Imagine that buttery, crisp bread straight out of a sammy press, but loaded up with spinach, turkey, bacon and muenster cheese, plus smeared in pesto mayo. Delish! I hope Central Melt puts this one on the menu because it is a tasty blend of ingredients for sure.
Now, onto the fries. Kitchen-man Zach McCurdy hand-cuts these little golden pieces of potato perfection daily, so there’s no previously frozen spuds to found at Central Melt. These fries were crisp to the bite, served piping hot and coated in just the right amount of salt. Central Melt’s fries are a must-have sidekick for any of their sandwiches.
Although I loved the grafitti mural that covers the left wall of the eatery, and the tin that decorates the counter, I wasn’t so keen on the blank white wall behind the counter. With guests sitting facing that white wall, I was a little put off as to why the designer of the space left it empty. I hope the folks at Central Melt up the decor in the joint and add a splash of color and design to that wall, because it seemed a little dreary in there. More color and another mural could draw more people into the space to enjoy a tasty bite.
All in all, I’d say Central Melt is a great addition to downtown, and I’m hopeful to see upgrades in decor and ambiance in the near future. Food is 10/10, however. I recommend popping in for a quick, hot lunch, and enjoying a crispy, cheesy sandwich. You won’t regret it.
Photos by Angelina Bruno
[Editor's note: Here's a nice write-up in Creative Loafing on Central Melt]
685 Central Ave
St. Petersburg, FL 33701