The owners of Melthouse Bistro knew that if their new grilled cheese restaurant concept was to be successful, they needed more than just great food. They also needed to put in place all of the other elements required to create the warm, inviting, smart, “approachable culinary” dining experience they envisioned – starting with the restaurant’s interior, but also encompassing everything from the name and logo to the printed menu, the packaging used to present the food, and even the employees’ uniforms. The owners turned to Kahler Slater to craft all of those elements for their new fast casual restaurant.
Every design project needs an element around which everything else gels. In the case of Melthouse Bistro, that element is barn board reclaimed from a Wisconsin granary belonging to the owner's family. Ideally suited to a Wisconsin restaurant that showcases Wisconsin cheeses, the wood covers the walls in the restaurant's booths and inspired much of the restaurant's aesthetic and the color and distressed look of the restaurant's logo. The idea for Melthouse Bistro – and the "from barn to bistro" mantra – were born. The restaurant offers an ever-evolving selection of hand-crafted, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches made with Wisconsin cheeses, local artisan breads and an array of fresh, all-natural ingredients. Melthouse Bistro opened November 2011 to great reviews.