Melt Gourmet Cheeseburgers: Where a food lives adult to a name

Melt Gourmet Cheeseburgers’ unchanging cheeseburger, done with American cheese. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

A place that calls itself Melt Gourmet Cheeseburgers is usually seeking for trouble, right? It’s most mouth-watering critics of any fathomable stripe, from Yelpers to yours truly, to expel a prejudiced eye on a (self-proclaimed) highfalutin fare.

Melt’s plcae approach out in Leesburg doesn’t assistance a case, as if a place is stealing 30 or so miles from Washington and a maestro Pinocchio spotters. The emporium is tucked into a forest-green Bellewood Commons offered center, that looks like a cranky between a sport board and Ted Nugent’s carport. The counter-service corner is sandwiched between a UPS store and a Papa John’s. If you’re judged by a association we keep, afterwards Melt, during initial sniff, carries a sniff of a wannabe chain.

All my cynicism melted divided a impulse we walked into a place. we felt as if we had entered a Baltimore diner, not a suburban burger corner with a self-important name. The grill is a estimate distance of a Post-it note, and when we initial visited, any chair was taken and some-more diners were lined adult opposite a wall, possibly watchful for takeout or reviewing a paper menu. The open kitchen was crowded, too, as a organisation of jacketed cooks prepped and flipped patties. The atmosphere smelled of grilled beef and charred onions, and a lady during a money register called me “hon.”

Is this heaven?

No, it’s Leesburg.

Debbie and Steve Hancotte non-stop Melt Gourmet Cheeseburgers in 2012 after determining they were too immature to retire. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

The lady during a register, we learned, was Debbie Hancotte, co-owner of Melt and a pinkish if I’ve ever met one. She didn’t know we was a maestro eater — because would she, when Melt has been handling given 2012 with hardly a sight from a D.C. paper of record? — so she was honestly endangered about a heft of my meal. we had systematic a Paris burger (topped with Brie, balsamic-glazed red onions, baby spinach and Dijon), a cheeseburger with a cut of American, a side of onion rings and a Bell’s Two Hearted, one of many glorious qualification beers here. we explained that we had hardly eaten all day, that was true, though also a cover.

When a annuity arrived during a table, we accepted her concern. The burgers are half-pound beasts, plump and loosely shaped with an 80 percent gaunt Angus brew of brief rib, brisket and pitch (with maybe other trappings combined into a mix). The patty is tucked into a easily toasted, house-made sourdough bun, a tip of that balances on a Jenga building of toppings like a bowler shawl on Ichabod Crane. There’s a reason a kitchen pierces any burger with a skewer: Without it, these ground-beef monuments would disintegrate underneath a weight of their possess ambition.

My cheeseburger was textbook. The thick, one-inch patty was parched and coated with cheese that clung like a soppy suit. The interior, pinkish and inviting, oozed juices all over a wax-paper-covered waiter tray that ferried my burger to a list as if it were being presented to royalty. The burger was a tad underseasoned, but, given how most we desired it, my censure carries all a management of a film censor who claims “La La Land” would have been improved if Ryan Gosling had ragged improved shoes. The usually emanate we had with a Paris burger and a ripe, runny Brie was that we couldn’t finish it all.

The grill is in a suburban offered mall though has a infrequent vibe of a Baltimore diner. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

This kind of burger qualification does not occur by accident. Turns out Debbie, 57, and her husband, Steve Hancotte, 66, are aged pros in a liberality business. Steve is a classically lerned cook and Debbie a maestro front-of-the-house manager. They deliberate retirement after offered their restaurants on Hilton Head Island, S.C., though when they arrived in a D.C. area — Steve’s aged stomping belligerent — they satisfied they were “too immature to retire.” So they entered a burger business once they schooled Leesburg was starving for something some-more worldly than those sticking small beef sacks from Mickey D’s.

Despite a little space, Steve Hancotte produces some-more than 15 opposite burgers, not counting a daily specials. The pile crab burger might be prepared with specimens from a Gulf of Mexico (cue a haters in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1), though a strength is fresh, purify and sweet. Somehow, a crabmeat even binds a possess opposite a tomato, red onion and lemon-caper aioli. My Greek lamb burger was a few degrees warmer than my requested medium-rare, though we hardly beheld once we slathered it with a tart, house-made tzatziki. My Tex-Mex burger was a 10-gallon shawl of mixture — peppers Jack cheese, pico de gallo, jalapeños, roasted-corn-and-black-bean salsa, guacamole, chipotle salsa — that no bun could corral. So don’t even try. Just have a flare accessible to scratch adult those tasty bun deserters.

Order adequate burgers, and we start to know Steve Hancotte’s moves: He’s from a more-is-more school. His veggie burger, done with black beans and roasted white corn, seems to embody some-more mixture than processed nuggets do. But this is all we need to know about it: Although mushy, like so many veg burgers, a patty conceals cold muffled bursts of honeyed and hazed peppers. The ahi tuna burger pulls off a cold trick, too: It pairs watercress, with a horseradish kick, with a wasabi aioli though strenuous a sushi-grade fish. The usually skip for me was a (over) grilled duck bar “burger,” a mash-up of dual sandwiches that did conjunction any favors.

Macaroni and cheese is always on a menu, though a enhancements change monthly. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

Although both start from frozen, a fries here are distant higher to a rings. The fries are skin-on, with usually a right ratio of spuddy interior to light, crispy interior. The “ooey gooey” mac and cheese is value a spin, too, though don’t get trustworthy to, say, a sharp, eccentric Smithfield-ham-and-white-cheddar combo: The gooeyness changes monthly. Fortunately, a malts and shakes stay a same: smooth, abounding and creamy, done with Blue Bunny ice cream and whatever anniversary fruits are available.

Clearly, Melt Gourmet Cheeseburgers deserves a name it gave itself. Now, a owners usually need to open a plcae closer to a District, which, I’m told, is in a works.

525 E. Market St., Leesburg.

Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Prices: Sides, $1.95-$5.95; burgers, $6.95-$17.95.

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