July 26th, 2010, 6:00 am · 7 Comments · posted by Stefani Peterson, The Orange County Register
The Next Door is a new restaurant concept developed and operated by mother-daughter team Mira Selbo and Dana Robertson, who own The Melting Pot franchises in Irvine, Brea and San Clemente. Their newest gig, appropriately located next door to The Melting Pot (647 Camino de los Mares) promises a wide selection of comfort food and a diverse selection of craft beers in a relaxed modern pub setting.
Selbo and Robertson entered the restaurant business eight years ago when they opened The Melting Pot in Irvine – the first restaurant to open on the West Cost in the 140-store chain.
The San Clemente Melting Pot location is the biggest store of the three but quietest in volume and has the most regulars, Robertson said. To accommodate the space they already had and their following, the two were looking to provide their loyal customers with something new, Robertson said.
Inspired by their travels to Germany and Italy, as well as their own personalities when it comes to eating out, Selbo and Robertson developed The Next Door, right next door to their existing Melting Pot – similar to SideDoor, a concept by Five Crowns in Corona del Mar.
“We already had the space, and were paying for it, so we thought we might as well use it,” Robertson said. She also noted that though the economy is still down, she and Selbo had the ability to open a new restaurant so they thought they should take advantage of it.
The two restaurants will share restrooms – located in the hallway connecting the two eateries – as well as the kitchen. Before the addition of The Next Door, The Melting Pot’s kitchen contained mostly refrigerators and no “hot” items since guests cook their own meals at their tables.
The reorganizing of the kitchen will make changes for the hot line with an updated hood.
The mother-daughter duo is opening The Next Door to cater to the dining needs of the surrounding residential areas. When people want to go for a nice meal they have to drive at least 10 minutes down the freeway to restaurants located off of the Del Mar exit, Robertson said.
Since The Melting Pot is surrounded by casual eateries, such as Wahoo’s Fish Tacos and The Flame Broiler, the two wanted to introduce a nice restaurant that is also quicker in pace – not the two-hour dining experience that comes with eating at The Melting Pot, Robertson said.
The Next Door, which consists of a small dining area and a large bar, offers a menu different from that of The Melting Pot, promising comfort food with a California twist. It includes items like the chicken pot pie and fish and chips, as well as small bites like a bruschetta with brie and avocados. All menu items are less than $20.
“You can’t eat cheese every night unless you want to buy new pants every other month,” Robertson said about the menu in comparison to that of The Melting Pot.
The restaurant will be open for brunch on weekends with a menu including items like crème brulee French toast and omelets. Live entertainment will be featured on weekend nights as well.
The Next Door will be open Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.