Grind Time: Melt HNL pops up in Kakaako

Nov. 24, 2015 | 0 Comments

PHOTOS BY JASON GENEGABUS / JASON@STARADVERTISER.COMIt might not be the same truck, but the grilled cheese sandwiches from Melt HNL are just like those served in 2010.

PHOTOS BY JASON GENEGABUS / JASON@STARADVERTISER.COM

It might not be the same truck, but the grilled cheese sandwiches from Melt HNL are just like those served in 2010.

BY JASON GENEGABUS / jason@staradvertiser.com

One of the food trucks that helped usher in a new era of dining options in Honolulu is back for a limited run at Kakaako Agora, 441 Cooke St.

Melt HNL originally opened as a partnership between former Honolulu resident Alejandro “Aker” Briceno, chef Lindsey Ozawa and food writer Martha Cheng. When the truck made its debut in October 2010, the only other options were a smattering of taco trucks and mobile steak plate operations.

Melt HNL's Alejandro "Aker" Briceno poses for a picture with friends Blaine Tomita, left, and chef Kevin Lee outside Kakaako Agora.

Melt HNL’s Alejandro “Aker” Briceno poses for a picture with friends Blaine Tomita, left, and chef Kevin Lee outside Kakaako Agora.

For a glorious nine months, customers were able to get their fix of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and the infamous Melt of Shame, a quarter-pound beef patty served between two buns made out of — you guessed it — grilled cheese sandwiches. But the opening of Prima in 2011 meant Ozawa and Briceno had to make the decision to shut down Melt and focus solely on the restaurant.

“It’s become a good brand with a good following,” Ozawa told the Star-Advertiser at the time. “The advantage of starting the food truck first was the low startup cost. With a restaurant it’s five to six times more. That’s a lot of money, so I have to make sure that Prima will be successful.”

Sadly, plans to resurface never materialized… until this week. You can pick up a sandwich from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today and Wednesday, including the Papi Juan’s (white cheddar, gruyere, mozzarella, pepperoni and pickled peppers) and Harissa (mozzarella, pear and harissa sauce on rye bread). Feeling adventurous? Order the Papi’s Shame, a secret menu item made with a Kulana beef patty smothered in tomato sauce and melted mozzarella, then sandwiched between two pepperoni pickled pepper melts.


Shhh #secretmenu Papi's shame Tomato mozzarella cooked kulana beef between 2 pepperoni pickled pepper melts !!

A photo posted by kiawe_fire (@kiawe_fire) on

Briceno, who has since returned to his former gig as a pastry chef at Nobu Malibu, was on hand to greet customers today; Ozawa is expected to join him at the truck tomorrow.

Can’t make it to Kakaako? Once you’re finished with a post-Thanksgiving nap on Thursday, head to Fitted Hawaii, 1438 Kona St. Melt HNL will pop up there for Black Friday starting at midnight until the food runs out. Additional pop-up dates are being considered; follow Melt HNL on Instagram for the latest update.
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“Grind Time” is always looking for the latest places to get your grub on. Email Jason Genegabus with restaurant, bar or any other food/drink-related item at jason@staradvertiser.com and follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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