A popular grilled cheese restaurant in downtown Burlingame is shutting its doors until the streetscape makeover is completed this fall, citing construction that’s been unwelcoming to customers.
The Melt, which has 15 locations throughout the Bay Area and Southern California that sells made-to-order sandwiches, opened at 1401 Burlingame Ave. in October 2012, will close temporarily on May 6. When construction for the downtown beautification project first began in April 2013, reduced parking, fewer patrons and a torn-up street were among the complaints from business owners. From now until May 2, there will be sidewalk work and streetscape work on the eastern half of the block between Primrose Road and El Camino Real on the 1400 block of Burlingame Avenue.
“We are all about serving happiness and this construction on Burlingame Avenue just isn’t a happy or welcoming experience for our guests,” Jonathan Kaplan, founder and CEO of The Melt, said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to welcoming Burlingame residents to our other Bay Area locations. … In the fall, we look forward to celebrating with a grand reopening when the construction on Burlingame Avenue is complete.”
The city understands from where the company is coming, said Mayor Michael Brownrigg.
“We’ve tried our very best to run a major construction project with as little disruption as possible, but we all went in with our eyes open and knew this was going to be hard,” he said. “We will have their block done pretty soon, so life will get better for them.”
Once the construction moved to our block in January, the dust and debris didn’t create a happy or welcoming experience for guests and The Melt staff, the company said. In addition to the work being done on the eastern half of the block, there is also sidewalk and streetscape being done on the western half of the 1400 block. There is a partial closure of the intersection at Primrose Road and El Camino Real.
All Burlingame residents who visit other locations will receive a complimentary ice cone with any Melt purchase. All Burlingame employees will be temporarily relocated to the Stanford and Redwood City stores. The store will use this as opportunity for a few renovations but other than that, it is simply closing the space temporarily, Kaplan said.
The Melt first opened and has a menu that includes sandwiches such as The Classic with aged cheddar on white bread and The Mission that includes pepper jack cheese and jalapeños on sourdough bread. The franchise first opened in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood in 2011.
The 14- to 16-month beautification of Burlingame Avenue includes more pedestrian-friendly features, with sidewalks widened from 10 to 16 feet, more landscaping and outside dining space. Parking is moving from slanted to parallel and the street’s two lanes will be thinned to a total of 20 feet. The $16.5 million project is expected to be completed by the end of summer.
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