Normally filled with the aromas of marinara and fresh-baked breads, the interior of Grayson’s Melini Cucina currently wafts with the scents of sanitizing agents and fresh paint as staff members renovate the place while also tending to curbside customers hungry for “Melini’s” signature Italian flavors.
“We’re trying to re-clean every inch of the store,” said General Manager Justin Robinson.
“We have been sanitizing everything every day,” the restaurant manager said, explaining everyone involved is adhering to a strict hand-sanitizing procedure, adding “I’m Lysol-ing everything.”
“And we are doing To-Go orders. We are trying to push that as much as possible. We need that support,” he added, explaining the 17-year-old restaurant employs 10 people and hopes to keep each one of them.
“We’re basically a ‘Mom & Pop’ store. The only thing that’s keeping us running is the people supporting us,” he said, citing a popular “to-go special” – a 14-inch pepperoni pizza for $8.99.
“We have been here for like 17 years and I know we have a lot of dedicated customers,” Robinson said, explaining he and the team are working to create an entirely new ambiance for when they are again able to serve their fresh-baked breads to welcome guests seated in booths and at tables.
Calzones and pizza slices remain popular, Robinson said before smiling and adding “Our full menu is totally available. We will do whatever we can until they tell us we can’t.”
Asked for his own menu favorites at Melini Cucina, Robinson grinned and guided guests toward a couple of “off menu” entrees.
“Our skillet-grilled chicken sandwich is just … If they order it we can make it for them,” he said. “And steak subs. That is not on the menu either but it is available to order.”
Call-in orders will be delivered to diner’s cars, or patrons can walk inside to pick up their order. If they do, they’ll get a glimpse of the ongoing renovations.
“We will definitely run it out to the car for you,” he said, glancing toward the back wall of the restaurant where artist Candy Glass began painting over a longstanding landscape mural and planning a new vision of her own.
“I really haven’t decided yet – something Italian themed … probably a landscape,” Glass said.
Robinson notes he is working on details of a plan to offer delivery, but cautions “That’s not a 100 percent thing yet.”
The restaurant manager said he is currently working with Owner Noemi Ceballos to revamp the Melini Cucina menu.
“Our new updated wine menus are already done and in the store, and I will meet with Noemi next week to make final decisions on the menu. We may change a few options for ordering cheesesticks, calzones and pizzas,” Robinson said.
Melini Cucina, located at 209 South Carol Malone Boulevard in Grayson, is open from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Sunday. For information or to place an order, call (606) 475-1521.
Story and Photos by TIM PRESTON
Carter County Post