Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Hours: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, closed
Phone: 330 953 2610
Address: 6810 Market St. Boardman, OH 44512
By REBECCA S. NIEMINEN
Although Sweet Melissa’s Good Eats only opened about ten weeks ago, already the Boardman restaurant is a bustling place during lunch hour.
Patrons line up to order scrumptious salads, wraps and deli items with many customers returning almost daily for the same dish.
“We already have ‘regulars’ we know by name,” said owner Melissa Poland. “Most of our business is takeout. We are popular with working people who want to grab something healthy and quick on their lunch breaks – something they can take back to the office and feel good about eating instead of filling up on fast food.”
Indeed, Sweet Melissa’s Good Eats is an alternative for folks who want their food fast but also healthy.
Shannon Kacenga, a daily customer who works nearby, said she loves the Tuscan salad.
“I’ve tried just about everything on the menu, but the Tuscan salad is my favorite,” she said, adding, “All the food is fresh and fantastic, and the people here are really friendly.”
The Tuscan salad, which Poland said is one of the restaurant’s most popular sellers, consists of shredded chicken, sunflower seeds, red onions, dried cranberries, mozzarella cheese, romaine and a garlic-lemon vinaigrette.
“People keep telling me I need to bottle the garlic-lemon vinaigrette and sell it,” Poland said.
After tasting the salad and the vinaigrette, I heartily agreed.
The garlic-lemon vinaigrette has a tangy sublime flavor, and the lovely variety of textures in the salad blend perfectly. The crunchy romaine, the chewy cranberries, the hearty chunks of chicken and the sweet-spiciness of the red onion – divine!
The Tuscan salad is one of five big salads on the menu (all priced at $6.50).
I also sampled the Thai salad, which contains shredded ginger soy chicken, romaine lettuce, red onions, toasted crushed Ramen noodles and a spicy peanut sauce and rice wine vinaigrette. Like the Tuscan chicken salad, this salad also has all the right textures, and the spicy peanut sauce lends an unforgettable kick to the garden fresh ingredients.
The bacon and bleu salad is yet another amazing creation. Crumbled bacon, bleu cheese, red onions, cinnamon-sugared pecans, romaine and an apple cider-grapeseed oil vinaigrette blend to fashion a culinary delight unlike any you’ve ever tasted before.
“We tell customers not to try the bacon and bleu salad first because it often ends up being the only one they ever want to order because they love it so much,” Poland said with a laugh. “We want them to sample some other things first.”
If you’re not in the mood for a salad, try a wrap ($5.75 each).
The Dr. “Feel Good” wrap is a unique creation reminiscent of the well-known Jalapeno popper appetizer.
“We take cream cheese, cheddar cheese and diced jalapenos, mix it with chicken and a little romaine and then wrap it in a tortilla,” Poland said.
And wow is it yummy! The soft cream cheese and spicy jalapenos offer a delicious kick to wake a tired palate.
The menu also features a buffalo chicken wrap, a southern pesto chicken wrap, a rainbow hummus wrap and a fried bologna wrap.
Every day of the week the restaurant offers a slider special.
Monday belongs to the shredded poppy-seed chicken slider, and Tuesday brings a buffalo chicken slider.
Patrons can try an E.I.P. slider each Wednesday. This slider contains a burst of spices blended and rubbed onto chicken, which is baked to perfection and then thinly sliced and served with mozzarella cheese.
The ham and cheese slider is a big hit every Thursday, and I was fortunate to sample one. It features deli thin honey ham and provolone cheese and is topped with poppy seed dressing.
The pork-chetta slider, which is served every Friday, contains thinly sliced pork roast marinated in a “super secret” marinade and topped with mozzarella.
Are you hungry yet?
“In creating each dish, I wanted food that I would feel comfortable serving my own family,” Poland said. “Our motto here is fresh and made from scratch. Nearly everything comes from local vendors, and we chop all of our veggies fresh daily. We create all of our own sauces and vinaigrettes. It’s lots of labor, but it’s so worth it. You can taste the difference in food that is fresh and hasn’t been frozen.”
Poland worked previously as the head of the kitchen at Ghossain’s of Boardman. She is known for inventing dishes that combine textures and tastes in exciting and unforgettable new ways.
As her new restaurant grows, new items find their way to the menu.
For example, Poland’s daughter, Kaitlin, who helps at the restaurant, recently created a French onion hummus that is out of this world. The hummus is just one of many items available at the to-go deli counter.
All deli items come in half-pound to-go containers. Two popular sellers are the fiesta bean salad – a beautiful blend of peppers, beans, corn, cilantro and apple cider vinaigrette – and the Greek quinoa salad, a refreshing, nutritious dish featuring Kalamata olives, cucumbers, red onions, tomatoes and feta cheese.
“The deli items were created with the idea that people could stop in on their lunch hour and take them back to work and enjoy them during the afternoon,” Poland said.
If you crave a little something sweet from Sweet Melissa’s, then you won’t want to leave the restaurant without trying its signature cookie.
“My good friend Melissa Gadjos created this cookie,” Poland explained. “It is our signature treat and contains dark chocolate, pretzels, butter and a few other secret ingredients.”
The cookie has made quite an impression on tasters. Akron Children’s Hospital recently ordered 1,500 of the cookies for an open house, for example.
If you visit the restaurant remember seating is limited to 15 people.
“We encourage people to call ahead if they’re ordering takeout,” Poland said.
Sweet Melissa also caters. Visit the website for the catering menu.