Relax and enjoy: The Melting Pot offers a fondue experience

The Melting Pot offers a variety of fondue flavors and styles for all tastes. (Contributed)

The Melting Pot offers a variety of fondue flavors and styles for all tastes. (Contributed)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

HOOVER—The Melting Pot offers more than just delicious, fresh food; it is an experience. Whether a family dropping in for a fun dessert, a group of ladies enjoying a girls’ night out or a couple on a date, the expansive menu has something for everyone.

“We give people the gift of time. The ability to relax and have a meal instead of being rushed,” co-owner John Dooley said.

Family owned and operated by Dooley and his father-in-law Bob Hammond, the Melting Pot is a fondue restaurant, with a full dinner menu of appetizers, salads, entrees and desserts.

The typical dinner is a four-course affair, beginning with a cheese fondue appetizer, followed by salad, an entree and ending with a decadent chocolate fondue dessert.

“Fondue comes from the (French) word ‘to melt,’” Dooley explained. “Everything is done at the table.”

Each table in the restaurant is equipped with a fondue pot. As a group, diners select a cheese for their appetizer, a cooking style for their entree and a chocolate for their dessert. Ingredients for each course are then melted right at each table.

Cheese appetizers range from the classic alpine—a mix of aged gruyere, raclette and fontina cheese accented with white wine, garlic and nutmeg—to the ever-popular spinach artichoke, Dooley explained.

Entrees are cooked right at the table, as diners dip bite-size pieces of meat, seafood or vegetables into a blended cooking oil, from the rich, red-wine infused coq au vin to the more zesty, Caribbean mojo style.

“It’s an interactive dining experience, more of a communal gathering,” Dooley said. “You dine at your own pace.”

The experience is capped off with chocolate fondue dessert complete with a variety of dippers from banana to pound cake.

Since food is prepared at each table rather than in a common kitchen, the Melting Pot is able to accommodate guests with a range of food allergies, Dooley explained. The restaurant also offers a large gluten-free menu.

The large restaurant can seat guests in an intimate, table-for-two setting or at a larger, family-style table. With room for about 180 diners, the Melting Pot can also accommodate large parties.

The Melting Pot is located at 611 Doug Baker Boulevard, off of U.S. 280 in the Lee Branch shopping center. The restaurant is open Mondays through Fridays from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturdays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

For more information, visit Meltingpot.com/Birmingham or call 981-8001.