Northside eatery melts into Wellmann's Brands

Posted at 10:20 AM, Jan 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-04 11:15:42-05

CINCINNATI — Molly Wellmann, the well-known mixologist and bar owner, has diversified her business offerings with the purchase of Melt, a popular Northside restaurant operated by chef Lisa Kagen.

"We always keep all options open," said the owner of Wellmann's Brands of her decision to purchase the eatery. "We always work to see what is the best way to provide the best atmosphere, food and now drinks to our friends and family."

Wellmann also purchased Kagen’s Over-the-Rhine catering business, Picnic & Pantry, as part of the deal. Kagen will now work for Wellmann’s Brands as its executive chef. In her new role, Kagen will work with Wellmann “to create an experience and menu that is unique” to Wellmann’s current bar businesses, which include the Famous Neons Unplugged, Japp’s Since 1879, Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar and Myrtle’s Punch House.

“It has always been my mission to create a menu that satisfies many people," said Kagen. “I want to satisfy high-end cravings with fun, approachable menus, while supporting local producers as much as possible.”

Kagen and Wellmann said fans of Melt should not expect any changes to the restaurant, which has operated in Northside for 10 years. More locations might be added in the Tri-State, according to Wellman. That expansion though, and food offerings at Wellmann's bars won't be happening anytime soon.

"It is something we are going to do in the future," Wellmann said. She compared the current phase of the purchase of Melt to an artist getting a blank piece of paper and a pen. "We don’t know what we are going to draw. That’s where we are."

She did say that fans of Melt and her current bars should expect new announcements, such as Picnic & Pantry expanding its catering and in-store offerings, as 2016 progresses. 

"Expect more things to happen this year. I’m so excited about it," Wellmann said.