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Eats: Fun and eclectic, Gourmeltz stands out in a crowd
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Eats: Fun and eclectic, Gourmeltz stands out in a crowd

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I like a restaurant that is unusual. I like a restaurant with really flavorful food. I like a restaurant with hearty portions.

On all three counts, Gourmeltz—a new restaurant in Cosner’s Corner in Spotsy—delivers.

How many restaurants can boast expertise in melted cheese, a full bar and have an Oasis (remember the song “Wonderwall”?) band logo on the wall?

Only Gourmeltz.

The first thing you notice walking in the door is a larger-than-life mural in the doorway paying tribute to first responders and the nation’s warriors.

That’s appropriate anytime, and especially so since owner (with his wife, Maria) Matt Strickland is an Army vet who proudly served his country in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thank you, sir.

The Stricklands started their business as a food truck, and soon grew it to a full size (and this room is pretty big, with a casual, friendly vibe). Here you order from a massive menu at the counter, and your food is delivered to the table.

So. The menu. It’s the one problem I had with Gourmeltz. A really terrible problem. Namely, the menu was so big and so many items looked so tempting, they made it difficult for me to choose.

How dare they?

For an appetizer we got the Freshly Hand Made Mozzarella Sticks ($7.99) with a side of house marinara dipping sauce—and let me tell you, them bad boys were dang good. Soft and gooey and delicious.

We had a big party with us, so we could try lots of options. My now all grown-up and college-graduate daughter got the Mac Melt ($7.99), consisting of cheddar mac and cheese, fresh sliced tomato and extra-sharp cheddar.

She loved it. However, as with all the dishes here, bring your appetite, because these portions are very generous. She ended up taking half home.

Teen son ordered a 10-piece smoked (not fried) jumbo wings ($10.99), and man, they ain’t kidding about the jumbo. While a couple of the wings were on the more traditional size, most were seriously big and meaty.

It takes a lot to satiate a ravenous teenage athlete boy, but Gourmeltz wings did the job.

Cool Stafford Chick requested the Hawaiian Melt ($8.99)—house-roasted ham, Applewood smoked bacon, grilled fresh pineapple and two kinds of cheese (havarti and Swiss).

Makes me hungry just to type all that.

She said it was exquisite. “Like a yummy sweet Hawaiian pizza in sandwich form” were her exact words. (I told her it was my job, not hers, to use descriptions like that.)

We shared a small order of the jumbo smoked wings (five pieces, $6.99), dry-rubbed with handmade Old Bay sauce. They had a little bit of kick and spiciness, but without the mess of traditional Buffalo sauce or the like.

Big thumbs-up. Tasty and hearty.

We ordered the chicken tenders for the cute toddler with us, with apple slices as the side ($3.49). She had no complaints. (In case you were wondering: That’s a win.)

Finally, the daddy. The Big Kahuna. The main man. Your favorite reviewer. Me.

After some vacillating over different choices, I went with the Fiesta Burger Melt ($8.99), featuring two freshly made Angus beef patties, fresh pico de gallo, avocado, 240 Sauce and pepper jack/provolone cheese heaven.

I give it a big vote of tasty confidence, with the caveat that it wasn’t quite as Mexican food-tasting as I’d hoped. Maybe not enough avocado or pico, or maybe the cheeses took over and ran with it for the taste buds.

That’s not a negative, but merely to say it was like a delicious burger rather than delicious Mexican food.

Everyone liked Gourmeltz. It’s just a bit eclectic and unique enough both in menu and layout to really stand out in a crowd.

Dave Smalley is a Fredericksburg- based freelance writer, not overly fond of cooking at home, and father of four.

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