Almost Famous Mel’s was probably one of the best places I ate at last year. I didn’t really take pictures because the birth of the Burger Beast site was a few months away. I spent all of last week at Marco Island so I decided to eat here again a couple of times with my family so I could: 1) Enjoy its greatness and 2) Take some pictures.
Who are we kidding? I just wanted to eat here again. Once my wife Marcela and I arrived in Marco Island the first thing we did was head out to Mel’s. I wanted to order one of their Hot Dogs but since it was after 4PM (no Wieners after 4), that wasn’t going to be a possibility. We ordered the “Throw Down The Gauntlet” which I tried last year and loved (on the original post I couldn’t remember its name, it wasn’t even on the menu yet).
The Gauntlet is a plate of fresh cut Fries with Nacho Cheese, Jalapeños, Pulled Pork and Chili. We also ordered the Wings but this time there were a variety of sauces available: Mel’s Way, Big Jon’s, Hot & Happy, Honey, and Frank’s Red Hot. We were brought a sampling of all the Sauces and a few pieces of Cornbread with which to try them.
The Mel’s Way, Big Jon’s and Hot & Happy all tasted pretty similar but we went with Big Jon’s because it had a nice mix of BBQ and heat, the Cornbread was pretty good too. The Wings were good but nothing special. I decide to order the Michigan Burger (slab of Ham and Jack Cheese) and Marcela goes with the Burnt Ends (Burnt Brisket Ends and Ham).
I still think the Burnt Ends is the best thing on the menu (and I still think that Mac N Cheese is pretty lame) followed by a close second of Throw Down The Gauntlet. The Michigan was very good and contained no Burger at all which was weird, it was like a giant Ham and Cheese sandwich.
Two days later I was back with my sister Michelle, this time before 4PM. I was able to order the Chili & Cheese Dog and the Tex Mex Burger (Chipotle Sauce, Bacon, and Cheddar). While we’re discussing with the waitress my previous time there, I mention the Michigan Burger. She tells me that it indeed should have had a Burger in it (well that makes sense). She mentions this to Mel, who comes to our table to apologize for the mistake, very nice guy by the way.
That Chili & Cheese Dog was so smothered in Chili we had to use a fork and knife to eat it. It was great but the taste of the Dog was way overpowered by the Chili. The Tex-Mex Burger was really moist and tasted way better than I remember last year. I notice the Menu mentions that it’s never frozen Angus beef which I think last year’s Menu did not claim.
Original Post 10/13/08:
Not far from where I was staying in Marco Island is Almost Famous Mel’s South Beach Smokehouse-BBQ. Not very original as far as decor goes but when I walked in I felt like I was on vacation and as if I should be hearing Bob Marley over the airwaves, instead I had to settle for some guy trying out his favorite tunes on his guitar with cheezy keyboard accompaniment. We ordered a new appetizer created by Mel(the owner) which name escapes me at this moment (Fries with Chili, Pulled Pork, Nacho Cheese and Jalapeños).
And even though by looking at it you might think it looks disgusting it tastes pretty amazing, the Pulled Pork was outstanding. We also ordered Bo’s Chicken Wings (Wings drenched in Frank’s Red Hot) which were just average. I ordered the Big House (Burger with Bacon, Mushrooms and Cheddar Cheese) and thought it was ok considering this was a “Smokehouse” the Burger did not have a strong smoky flavor. The sides I had were Mom’s Mac & Cheese (If this is mom’s mac and cheese, I’ll take an order of my dad’s mistress’ mac and cheese) and Crispy Fried Onion Strings (pretty good and a large portion). The waitress also brought a piece of their Corn Bread drizzled in Honey Butter…..uh, yeah, delicious. Marcela had the Burnt Ends (Crispy Burnt Brisket Ends & Ham), now these little fellas were stunning. The Burnt Ends were probably the best item on the menu and it’s a real shame because I really thought the Burger was going to be sensational.
Almost Famous Mel’s South Beach Smokehouse BBQ is CLOSED
657 South Collier Boulevard, Marco Island, FL
Hours: Everyday 11:00 AM-11:00PM (kitchen closes at 10:30)