The main dining room at Mela Urban Bistro. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Big-city experience, small-town touch at this Springfield restaurant

Looking for yet another great reason to head downtown? Here’s the scoop on a terrific local restaurant that’s sure to make you plan a return trip.

Restaurant: Mela Urban Bistro

Location: 100 S. Fountain Ave., Springfield

Contact:: www.melaurbanbistro.com; (937) 471-9009

Background/Overview: Twenty-six years ago, this was Ashley’s Restaurant and Bar inside The Springfield Inn. It was renamed Mela Urban Bistro inside The Courtyard by Marriott in 2006. “Mela” (pronounced, “Mala”) is Italian for apple, and is understood to be the core of a town; “Urban” is defined as “relating to, or characteristic of a city or town”; “Bistro” is understood to be a venue having seating closer-together for guests.

Today, Mela Urban Bistro is handled by Interstate Hospitality management company. Its general manager is Becky Kreiger. Its food and beverage director is Mickey Edwards, who’s been with the restaurant all 26 years. “Our ambiance is second to none,” he says. “We want to give you a big-city experience with a small-town touch.”

This restaurant’s head chef is Gary Sheppard. He serves American, contemporary fare that’s known for its bold and innovative flavors — made with his passionate touch. The slogan at Mela Urban Bistro is, “Taste Life!”

The Menu:

  • Beverages: Pepsi-cola products, $2; Starbucks drip coffee, $2. The wine list offers dozens of selections from around the world, $5.50 and up. The stocked bar also has Champagne, $10 and up, Specialty Cocktails, and the “house” drink is a Mela Martini.
  • Breakfast (includes beverage): The Continental has fresh fruit and yogurt, hot/cold cereal, and fresh muffins/pastries, $8.95; The Mela Plate has two eggs, potatoes, meat and bread, $8.95. Also, a daily Breakfast Buffet is an option.
  • Lunch: Chef’s “Soup-of-the-Day,” $3/$5; Lahvosh Cracker Bread Pizza, $12; Classic Chef Salad, $8/$12; Greek Salad Wrap & Mela Chips, $8; Hamburger Sliders (two), or Chicken Sliders (two) & Potato Swirls, $8; Fried Cod Sandwich & Mela Chips, $10; Grilled Italian Sub & Mela Chips, $10.
  • Dinner (w/sides): Cauliflower Steak, $16; Chicken Breast, $20; Grouper or Salmon, $24; New York Strip Steak, $27; Filet Mignon, $37.
  • Dessert: Fruit Crisp, $5; Housemade Gelato or Sorbet, $5; All Butter Wild Berry Croissant Pudding, $6; Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake, $6.
  • Lounge: Mela Chicken Wings, $6/$10; Hummus Plate with Fresh Vegetables, $9; Angus Burger & Potato Swirls, $12; Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, $15.

Hours:

Restaurant: Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 7 a.m.. to 1 p.m..

Lounge: Monday-Thursday, 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. to midnight; Sunday, 4 p.m.. to 10 p.m. “Happy Hour” is Mon.-Fri., 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

More Information: Reservations are preferred.

Coming soon: Thanksgiving Day will have a family-style feast, with two seatings: Noon and 2 p.m. Seniors, $17.95; Adults, $26.95. Reservations are now being booked for this popular event.

Look for local restaurant profiles by Glenn and Kim Creyts every other week in “Life.” For inquiries regarding this column, and “Restaurant Profile” ideas and suggestions for future columns, please contact Glenn and Kim via e-mail: glenncreyts@att.net.

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