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Dining Review of Mel’s at 22 in Cooperstown, NY

0404151300UPDATE: May 16, 2015 Dinner

Since we went back to Mel’s for dinner during our son’s graduation weekend we felt we needed to provide an update.  The original review below is a very good one.  The experience at this dinner was the opposite.

We arrived right on time for our reservations and the hostess asked us to wait while she set up the table.  We though this a bit odd but the wait was fairly short.  After being seated we waited for a bit more, and then a waitress stopped by to tell us they weren’t sure who was going to serve us that night, but that she would take our drink orders.  This was very strange, but we ordered drinks and went with it.  Then we waited.  And we waited.  My beer was sitting on the end of the bar, I could see it clearly, but no one came to bring it to the table.  When the drinks finally arrived, delivered by the same waitress, we informed her we had an engagement and a time limit, and that we would need to speed this up.

Our dinner order took forever.  Other people sat down next to us and had drinks and hot appetizers on their table quickly.  One table got their dinner before us, having sat down maybe twenty minutes after we did.  This was not good.

When the food finally arrived, it was also not good.  The baked fish was woeful looking, with a tiny piece of fish on a sad, under-populated plate.  The fried version was much better, with three times the fish at the same price.  Good thing for us since that dish would end up feeding the table.  My veal saltimbocca was strange.  Breaded veal with some melted cheese, over angel hair and the entire thing swimming in a brown sauce that was reminiscent of saltimbocca but different.  There was no ham to be found.  There was just way, way too much sauce.  I didn’t eat it.

We all ended up having some fish and chips.

The worst part was the end however, when the waitress came over and tried to defend the service, informing me of the exact time we placed our drink orders and that she had been actually “very responsive”.  We begged to differ.  Then the owner stopped by and talked to Cheri, who informed him of all the problems we had encountered.  he walked away, period.  Since we were late the women left to get ready for our evening event and I stayed to pay the bill.  The owner was nowhere to be found.  The waitress came with the bill and said “I’d apologize but it wouldn’t do any good”, once again insinuating this was somehow all the diners fault.  Still the owner was nowhere to be found.  This was going from bad to ridiculous.

I received the bill, with nothing taken off, and paid it.  For the first time in my adult life I left no tip, none at all.  I was actually pretty furious by the time I walked out of the restaurant.

So be careful with Mel’s at 22.  Lunch seems to be the choice, because they were over their head and poorly executing at dinner.  We would never, never go back.

What a difference a day makes.

The Original Review:

We found a new winery during our last trip to Cooperstown, which you can read about here, but that wasn’t the only new thing in town.  Mel’s at 22 opened right on Chestnut Street, downtown, and we stopped in for lunch.  The vibe was modern, with a nice overall ambiance.  Dark gray walls, white chairs 0404151233and carrera marble table tops all worked together well.  Out front, near the well stocked bar, were some high tops.  In the adjoining dining room the tables were well spaced.  We settled into a window table.

The wait staff was very attentive, and drink orders were quickly filled.  For food we went with a BL Sandwich (hold the T), a Bison Burger, a Veggie Burger and the Aphrodite Salad, which came with grilled chicken and chick peas.  The food was quite good across the board, and although not 0404151259exotic choices they were well executed.  I also got the “famous and award winning” clam chowder, and that was very tasty.  Much better than you’d expect in upstate NY, but then again the chef/owner, Brian Wrubleski, is from Boston.  Our only complaint is that near the end of the meal the wait staff were too attentive, clearing the table and asking about coffee and dessert while one of our party was still eating.  That’s the only criticism we can offer however.

The wine list is limited, with a single choice of all the major varietals available.  Beers are pretty well represented with several local brews.  Lunch was good, and we’ll probably be back in late May to try out the dinner menu.  We’d definitely recommend Mel’s at 22 for lunch if you’re in Copperstown.  Our wallet’s out at the moment.0404151231

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A votre sante!

Mel’s at 22

22 Chestnut Street

Cooperstown, NY

607-435-7062

2 comments to Dining Review of Mel’s at 22 in Cooperstown, NY

  • Ania Falbo

    On January 1, 2016, my husband Carmine and I visited the Mel’s 22 restaurant for the first time. We were quite impressed by wonderful staff and a “home like” atmosphere. The menu was wonderful and service, exceptional. The Prince Edward Island Mussels were beyond mouth watering and the New England Clam Chowder superb. By the time our entrees were served, we’ve enjoyed meeting the owner, Brian and his mother in law. The food was great, most of all, it’s made fresh to order. If you enjoy yourself, 20 minutes wait is miniscule. Well, today is January 1, 2017 and we are at Mel’s again. Had a wonderful dinner, chatted with Brian, our server, Megan was delightful and Cosmos were perfect thanks to the bartender, Sean. What a wonderful restaurant, 5 stars.

    • admin

      We’re glad you have enjoyed your experiences. All we can say is that our last visit was a disaster and a prime example of a restaurant in total confusion. We were not alone that day judging by the grumbling and comments from diners around us. Also, it is great when the owner stops by to chat and things are great. On our visit the owner stopped by, and when faced with a negative situation, ran for the hills never to be seen again. Hopefully it is all good from here on.

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