Gregg Lurie is a connoisseur of what might be called lowbrow food: hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, Philly cheesesteaks, patty melts and so on, plus the sauces, mustards and pickles that go with them.
His passion for food led him to open a micro-chain of grilled-cheese sandwich shops called the Daily Melt, complete with in-house pickle bars.
The Cleveland native who is a pilot (for pleasure and business) saw a niche for reasonably priced grilled-cheese sandwiches with high-quality cheeses (from Wisconsin and Vermont) in a sea of sliders. His latest endeavor, open since September, is in downtown Miami near the Miami Dade College campus.
His low prices pack in students for the breakfast maple-bacon melt with an egg on top, and for the mushroom, spinach and provolone frittata melt. Office workers stop in for tomato-soup shots and melts on fresh, local breads.
To keep sandwiches from being squished on the grills, Daily Melt employs a special flatiron so the bread just touches the heat, keeping the melts big and fat with cheese oozing out the sides. Customers can select pickles such as bread and butter, mojo spice, hot and sassy, lemon and ginger, and sea-salt dill.
Melts include crab Louie salad with Muenster on sourdough; prosciutto and mozzarella with slow-roasted tomato and basil pesto on ciabatta; turkey pastrami Reuben with Swiss, sauerkraut and Russian dressing on rye; garden melt with portobello, smoked Gouda, pesto and spinach on multi-grain; and BBQ pulled pork with Swiss, caramelized onions and Kansas City barbecue sauce on a French demi.
There’s also the farmer salad of mixed greens, cucumber, roasted peppers and mini-grilled-cheese croutons, plus milkshakes, s’mores on graham crackers and the banana Nutella melt with fontina on French toast.
It’s all a dream come true for a man who will fly to Cleveland for corned beef.
Linda Bladholm is a Miami-based food writer.