Several friends had told us about Melillo’s in Lowellville, so, a couple of weeks ago, we stopped for what turned out to be a very good meal. Chef Jimmy Cimenero, a graduate of the Pittsburgh Culinary school, was working that day. I had ordered hot-garlic wings with Parmesan cheese and was surprised to see the wings delivered with freshly-shaved Parmesan cheese. I certainly didn’t expect that little extra. Denny had ordered the Black & Bleu burger and I got a bite. Oh boy, that was good.
We stopped in on Sunday afternoon for our second meal at this restaurant. We were able to meet Ralph DelSignore on our first visit and he gave us a tour of the first floor, telling us of the big plans he and his wife Tiffany have for the building. They are making a Bed & Breakfast from this historic Lowellville hotel which dates to 1914. They have done an impressive renovation of the old tin ceilings and ornate bar. He showed us the room with the massive old safe, and the special pocket doors that had a separate sliding window, where a paymaster handed out paychecks. A doorway leads from this room to another room with a stone fireplace where small groups can sit away from the main bar. There are lovely murals all around the main dining area featuring an idyllic Venetian scene.
In December 2013, Vindicator reporter, Emmalee C. Torisk, did a story on the building that is a must read: http://www.vindy.com/news/2013/dec/22/melillos-tavern-history-served/
When we arrived this past Sunday for lunch, we had a vague idea of the meal we wanted, and I had to have the fresh-cut fries again. I rarely have a hamburger so I decided to have the Black & Bleu burger which is Angus ground beef topped with perfectly grilled onions and slabs of creamy bleu cheese. My husband considers himself to be a hot dog connoisseur so he ordered one of the specials, hot dog and fries. The barkeep Bob Golden delivered our order and what a sight! The hot dogs had been “decorated” with yellow mustard drizzled in perfect parallel lines, topped with slivers of roasted red peppers that were arranged to look like “ketchup.” My burger arrived with a steak knife driven into the burger and a roasted red pepper “rose” on the side. This is the benefit of having Chef John Torrento on staff.
Piles of the fries were alongside the dogs and burgers. We dove in and I was pleased to taste the perfectly- cooked, medium well burger. The onions had that brown edge I like, the bun had been grilled and was just enough bread to hold the burger, onions and bleu cheese. It had been assembled at the right temperature to get the bleu cheese softened, delicious with every bite. The hot dogs were a quality meat product and Denny said they were really good and he’d order these again. I’m always glad to see malt vinegar for fries and it does add that extra bit of tang with all that meat and cheese.
We’re returning this weekend with friends and I will be hankerin’ for a big old steak, having read a very good review recently.
Movie recommendation: Sneakers
Eat well, and be kind!
Lee & Denny
300 East Liberty St.
Lowellville, OH 44436
Phone: (330) 536-9207