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KEY Oklahoma City

Everyday Gourmet
OKC eatery knows how to dress dinner up and down

Interactive fun. Relaxed conversation. Contemporary setting. The Melting Pot of Oklahoma City has everything you’re looking for in a casual night on the town.

Located in the former Oklahoma Hardware Co. building, a four-story structure in historic Bricktown, the restaurant features mahogany wood tones, bold fabrics and dramatic accent lighting. With modern design elements and original brick details, the 214-seat restaurant also includes a large, full-service bar and a glass-enclosed wine room.

The Melting Pot is part of the nation’s largest fondue restaurant franchise headquartered in Tampa, Fla. Local owners Mark and Becky Chapman became hooked on the restaurant chain after one visit to The Melting Pot in Dallas. Two years after debuting the fondue establishment in Jenks, Okla., at RiverWalk Crossing, the Chapmans introduced Oklahoma City to the art of fondue.

Before The Melting Pot’s grand opening in January 2007, the Chapmans invested more than $1.3 million in the ground-floor restaurant and build-out with areas for both group and intimate dining. Today, the Bricktown location is one of more than 142 Melting Pot restaurants nationwide and more than 28 locations currently in development.

“Our vision was to add The Melting Pot’s distinctive concept to this trendy retail and dining district, and it’s been a perfect fit for us so far,” says Becky Chapman.

From the time guests are seated, The Melting Pot becomes a truly unique, interactive dining experience. Each table is equipped with its own fondue pot and warmer. Cheese fondue is prepared at the table by the restaurant’s attentive servers, who provide apple, bread and veggie dippers to eager onlookers waiting to share the decadent treat.

The main course comprises a vegetable medley and platter of meats such as tenderloin, shrimp, sirloin, chicken and fish that complement the restaurant’s signature dipping sauces. Guests of The Melting Pot choose from four fondue cooking styles such as “Coq au Vin,” a broth with fresh herbs, mushrooms and garlic, and use fondue forks to cook each piece of meat for one to two minutes.

The Melting Pot also serves memorable chocolate fondue desserts such as the Flaming Turtle and White Chocolate Butterscotch Fondue, cocktails and offers a refreshingly unfussy take on a discerning list of wines.

Three- and four-course meals take about an hour and fifteen minutes, allowing for plenty of great conversation between guests. Prices range from $15 to $45 per person, depending on course choices.

“We want to help guests create memories through our special dining experience and outstanding customer service,” Chapman says. “It doesn’t matter the occasion – a romantic dinner for two, a creative business meeting with colleagues or a large get-together with friends and family – if you want to enjoy great food in a fun atmosphere, The Melting Pot definitely fits the bill.”

Each year, The Melting Pot introduces two limited-time, themed menus for the “Big Night Out,” its four-course dining option. In March, the restaurant rolled out several Tuscan-inspired dishes.

Through fall 2009, visitors can enjoy Quattro Formaggio Cheese Fondue – a unique pesto blend with four specialty cheeses – a caprese salad with imported balsamic dressing, and Porcini and Portobello mushrooms and sacchetti pasta served with a choice of fresh meats and seafood. Milk Chocolate Tiramisu Fondue made with espresso mousse and imported lady fingers tops off the Italian feast.

“Tuscany is known for its quality food using only the freshest ingredients, and we wanted to capture that with this menu,” Chapman explains.

While most people think of The Melting Pot as a “grown-up” venue, the restaurant experience is fun for both the young and old alike. Earlier this year, the restaurant began offering a Tuesday night promotion called the “Family Fondue Feast.” The evening’s special pricing means that a family of four pays just $88 for a three-course fondue meal.

“We have three children of our own, so we know that in today’s busy world a family dinner together can be a rare occurrence,” Chapman says. “We wanted to create a fun way to engage families and encourage them to make the time for meals together.” Chapman says that parents and kids enjoy the evening’s family-friendly touches, which also include a box of table-top “conversation starter” cards to encourage family dialogue. She explains that the game was designed to be a fun way for parents and kids to get beyond typical after-school conversation and really get to know each other.

The Melting Pot also offers other promotions and special events throughout the year, including an annual benefit for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, its corporate charity partner.

On the fourth Wednesday of each month, the restaurant hosts “Ladies’ Night Out,” featuring four-course fondue for $35 per person. Local vendors such as clothing boutiques and home décor shops showcase their wares, and items displayed are available for purchase throughout the evening. Past events also have included fashion shows, make-up consultations and massages.

The Melting Pot is located at 4 E. Sheridan Ave. and is open for dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5-10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 4-11 p.m. Reservations are recommended, but not required, and can be made at (405) 235-1000. For more information about The Melting Pot, visit www.meltingpot.com.





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