Coming soon: Mela Kitchen | Jack’s Cider House

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Painting in Harrisburg, PA

Coming this year to a (former) theatre near you (Gettysburg): Jack’s Cider House + Mela Kitchen

Things to look forward to in 2020: 

  • more hard cider
  • new wines
  • all-new restaurant

I’ll break this down like this — you know Jack’s Hard Cider, formerly of Hauser Estate Winery, in Cashtown (read: outside of Gettysburg). It’s now owned by parent company Atomic Dog, which is the name of the new line of fun, approachable wines, along with the also coming-soon Mela Kitchen

All three soon will be unveiled in Gettysburg, where Atomic Dog has set-up shop in the old movie theatre behind the Gettysburg Outlets.

When I say “set-up shop,” I mean they’re mid-total renovation. Production is rolling. Jack’s is canning. Wine is being bottled. Gorgeous open-concept kitchen is beginning to come together. Bar is installed. Menu is ready. 

Mela Kitchen

Mela kitchen in Harrisburg

Mela Kitchen is headed by Josh Fidler, formerly of Fidler’s Restaurant (not far from Jack’s original location) and most recently, GearHouse Brewing Co

His goal is to bring fresh, local ingredients and offer simple, shareable dishes prepared at a high level.

The menu focuses on Mediterranean-inspired dishes (lots of good olive oil and lemon, Fidler told me, a revisit to his very first cooking gig for a Greek chef). Pizzas (obviously, see centerpiece pizza oven), pasta, sandwiches, salads, to complement small plate items and shareable entrees — whole grilled fish, roast chicken.

I look forward to sharing more about these once I get a chance to taste some of the dishes.

Chef Fidler is one of the top chefs in the area. His expertise and vision will no doubt make Mela a must-visit for locals and tourists alike.

The space

The impressively sized dining room opens up like the most popular breweries, sky-high ceilings, a touch of industrial vibe, but there’s not an edison bulb in sight. Rustic touches and a vibrant, centerpiece mural both warm and brighten the space. 

A long bar runs the span of the main dining room, and behind it, the aforementioned keystone pizza oven and the Mela kitchen, a take on the open kitchen concept (read: You don’t see everything, but you see a lot).

Service will marry quick-service and fine dining. Sit at the bar and do it all there. Or, order at one of the kiosks at each end of the bar, then take a seat — some family-style seating, high-tops, some smaller four-tops. Food runners got you from there.

Outdoor seating also is available around the perimeter of the restaurant as well as a patio.

Behind the kitchen sits one remaining movie theatre. Minimally renovated to provide more space and add its own bar, this room may be used for events, public or private.

Interior Jack's Hard Cider

Take a stroll to the right of the dining room and peer into Jack’s and Atomic Dog production space.

Above, a catwalk where guests can observe apple pressing and canning has the potential for private dining or special tastings.

Outside, where it’s anticipated that there may often be lines to get in — whether due to lower capacity during the pandemic or peak summer season when tourists and locals alike seek out quality food and drink. 

In preparation for this, guests will be able to purchase beverages or visit the water station and will be supplied with popcorn (something “chef-y,” Fidler quips) — in homage to the former movie theater — while they wait. 

Cider • Wine • More

Bar offerings include a line of seasonal craft cocktails made with Pennsylvania spirits.

On tap, you’ll find Jack’s Hard Cider (obviously), Atomic Dog wines (5 varieties — more on this soon), a Guest Tap featuring another Pa. cider, and Pennsylvania craft beer. 

Jack’s Hard Cider

Jack’s produces a number of hard cider blends, including four flagship — original (drier), Helen’s Blend (sweeter), Peach, and Pear, plus two “premium” ciders (of course my favorite) — Dry-Hopped and Rosé, and other seasonal offerings.

I expect we’ll see more new and special ciders out of the new Jack’s Cider House.

Atomic Dog Wines

The all-new line of Atomic Dog wines will keep things fun and simple. They will offer a dry white (Pinot Gris), dry red (blend predominantly featuring grapes from the Pacific Northwest), dry rosé, sweet white, and sweet red — the last two made from 100% Pennsylvania grapes.

I look forward to trying these soon — they may be bottling now! — and I’ll provide an update.

Timeline

Of course, Jack’s Cider House and Mela Kitchen are eager to open and begin serving guests.

For now, they’re providing a loose “2020” opening, and I’ll be sure to update you when they’re able to announce a confirmed date.

In the interim, the teams are working hard to make this new space into something worth the wait. Fidler is working to ensure his staff and guests have the safest experience in these uncertain times.

The future

It’s bright in Adams County. The space has incredible potential, including — wait for it — a rooftop dining area with views of rolling hills (not, impressively, The Outlets or Route 15).

Here, guests may enjoy a cider or wine overlooking the orchards from where they came. A smaller menu, maybe its own pizza oven, would complement the experience.

Stay tuned to this space and follow Mela Kitchen on Facebook and Instagram for updates on the opening!

Sara Bozich
Author: Sara Bozich

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