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VOL. 116 | NO. 187 | Thursday, September 26, 2002

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Melting Pot reopens Cordova location

Melting Pot reopens Cordova location

By SUE PEASE

The Daily News

It could be the deep-fried meats, vegetables steeped in court bouillon or the ooey-gooey desserts that draw people to the Melting Pot.

But whatever the reason, fondue aficionados citywide were saddened when they had to put down their tiny pitchforks at the closing of one of Memphis most unique restaurants.

Well, be sad no more the Melting Pot in Cordova, which closed its doors July 2001, has reopened with new ownership and a makeover.

Although the restaurant opened Sept. 16, it will celebrate its grand reopening today, with a charity benefit event for Target House. Melting Pot will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from the $50 per couple charge.

Through Sunday, the restaurant will donate 10 percent of its sales to the charity, as well.

The new owners invested $400,000 in the fondue restaurant at 2828 Wolfcreek Parkway across from Wolfchase Galleria, opening the business doors to overwhelming response, said part-owner Mark Rosenthal.

Its been phenomenal, Rosenthal said about the communitys response to the reopening.

Many former regular customers are pleased the restaurant is back, he said.

The new owners include five partners, all of whom have other Melting Pot franchise experience.

Rosenthal and his wife, Carla, operate the Nashville Melting Pot and opened their first franchise store in Knoxville 11 years ago.

The other restaurant partners in Memphis are Keith Dunn, Todd Dennis and Brian Neel, Rosenthal said.

Extensive restaurant renovations included a complete redesign of the kitchen, the addition of a 1,200-bottle, walk-in wine cellar, revamped seating, new paint and improved restrooms.

The former owners, Eric and Lisa Douglas, had opened a second Melting Pot location Downtown at 126-128 Monroe Ave., but it closed last year, as well.

After completing an assessment of the Downtown location, Rosenthal determined it would remain closed.

I went in and did an evaluation and said first of all, Does Memphis need a second Melting Pot right now? and no, it doesnt, Rosenthal said.

The Tampa, Fla.-based restaurant chain has about 60 franchises nationwide and grants territories to franchise owners, said Bob Johnston, Melting Pot Restaurants Inc. president.

He was disappointed to see the restaurant close last year but is looking forward to the new venture.

We were very disappointed that we had to close the other restaurants at all, but could not be happier that Mark Rosenthal has opened the market. And, we are confident that he will provide a tremendous Melting Pot experience for every patron, Johnston said.

It was unclear why the previous owners closed the two locations in Memphis last year.

Rosenthal did not know the previous owners, but said the restaurant had been popular.

The Douglases could not be reached for comment.

They also owned D Squared Enterprises of the Mid-South, which included several area Subway sandwich shops.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 101 603 9,602
MORTGAGES 92 538 10,616
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 3 40 1,289
BUILDING PERMITS 215 1,282 20,958
BANKRUPTCIES 51 408 6,108
BUSINESS LICENSES 20 154 3,939
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 31 124 2,892
MARRIAGE LICENSES 21 111 2,021