12th May 1998 The Communication Line - Clearwater, Florida

Beautiful People At Melanie's

By Patti Caron,

(Slight changes made for the sake of those outside the local area).

From apparently common men and women to stars, in all shapes and sizes, they all had something to offer each other and us; they're Beautiful People, and they packed what marked opening night at Melanie's.

"…great food and friends.

You'll find just that at Melanie's."

Picture by Wayne Porter

Melanie performing for her guests at her newly opened restaurant with her children, from left to right, Beau, Jeordie and Leilah

This new acoustic café in Tarpon Springs, Florida stands out like a fruit rainbow celebratory explosion among its neighboring lawyers, banks and delis on Tarpon Avenue. "Paint It and They Will Come" was the sign posted in front of this old, two-story Victorian house during renovations. Paint it they did: fruit green with accents of deep peach and periwinkle blue! (See it for yourself and say goodbye forever to primary and secondary colors.)

The idea was conceived late last year by folk star Melanie (over 80 million records sold over the years, including songs "Beautiful People", "Brand New Key", "Look What They Done to My Song, Ma") and her husband/long time manager, Peter Schekeryk. With hard work, plenty of help from their kids and friends, Melanie and Peter's labor of love and art has been delivered. It belongs to all of us now. The idea was to establish a safe, fun, supportive atmosphere, laid back but jamming, where acoustic musicians could do their thing against a backdrop of color, great food, and friends. You'll find just that at Melanie's. On the first floor (includes swing around porches for outdoor dining and those wishing to smoke) is the bar and restaurant. The second floor, renovations to be completed soon, will house the dessert room (try the generous lemon mousse cake kiwi strawberry delight!!!) and Kick Back Lounge.

Bring your appetite. That and your taste buds will be more than satisfied, without upsetting your wallet, by what I refer to, as "live food" served aplenty, for meat eaters and vegetarians alike. Live food isn't still moving or attached to the ground, it's food your body thanks you profusely for, that shoots good energy around inside you, stimulating just the right taste buds, opening up new perceptions in the world of eating. Among the menu selections you'll find "It's a Hit! Lavasch Cordon Bleu -- Grilled lemon basil chicken, Black Forest Ham and melted Gruyere with Lebna, romaine lettuce, tarre root chips and Melanie's famous purple slaw". Delicious, all around. The purple slaw was especially tasty -- somehow Melanie managed to mix various seemingly non-sequitur ingredients, including purple cabbage and raisins, to come up with something amazingly good, now indelible in my taste bud memory. Among the vegetarian selections are "Garden of 'Hedon' Veggie Burger -- Finally, a tasty rendering of a typically flat note. Garden patty with kalamata olives, fresh basil and tomato with chevre cream cheese dressing" and "For the Beautiful People Caesar Salad". (Word around the café was in order to truly experience Caesar Salad, you must indulge in this one.) Not to mention "Melanie's Art House Salad -- an artistic potpourri of organic baby greens, romaine fire roasted peppers, medallions of chevre, mandarins, chopped walnuts, asiago, fresh grated hard ricotta, mango vinaigrette." Wow!!! Thirsty? There's natural soda, spring water, and beverages a bit stronger. Their beer includes Newcastle, Miller Lite and Grolsch. The 1948 wine list ranges from an affordable Bonnie Doon Reisling from Santa Barbara: "Fruit, dry and ready to play", to the special occasion (every night is special occasion at Melanie's; go ahead, get a bottle) Dom Perignon "From the Monk who could carry a tune".

Of course a café wouldn't be complete without a fine selection of coffees, including the Celebrity Series Melanie Brand. (Buy it by the bag!)

And the music! Trio Rosewood Station embraced us with their strings and harmonies. Melanie, backed up alternately by the trio and her son, Beau, on guitar, daughters Jeordie and Leilah on vocals, treated us to hits like "Brand New Key" and our new favorite "Let's Go To Florida" (Northerners, West Coasters, this one's for you!)

Close your eyes, imagine everything that makes you smile about family, friends, aesthetics, life...you'll find it at Melanie's.

Melanie's is located in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, at 310 Tarpon Avenue in Tarpon Springs. Enjoy lunch and dinner Wednesdays through Sundays 11:00am - 1:00am. Don't miss the live music (Folk, Hardly Rock -- acoustic, yes, but don't be fooled by the label, there's plenty to rock and groove to) each of those nights. Open mic night is every Wednesday. The official Grand Opening is intended to take place in a couple of weeks. For more information, call (813) 934-0770.

Patti likes to hear from Melanie's fans regarding how she or her music have influenced them, what their favorite song is, how long they've been following her career, where they live, where they were when they first became a fan. E-mail Patti at katia08@gte.net. Thanks!

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