A burger melt at Mac & Melts, now closed in...

A burger melt at Mac & Melts, now closed in Garden city. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

After weathering the twists of the pandemic, Mac & Melts in Garden City is no longer. The restaurant, a son-and-father operation that focused on grilled cheese sandwiches and mac-and-cheese, closed earlier in April. 

Mac & Melts opened in a Stewart Avenue strip mall in 2014, its interior cast in the hues of the cheeses melted daily here, from Cheddar and Gruyere to Gouda and pepper jack. The casual eatery was small but mighty, serving a clientele whose mainstay was the office worker brigade around Garden City. 

When the pandemic arrived in 2020, that trade largely dried up. “We had a lot of loyal people that we lost, up and down Stewart Avenue,” chef and co-owner Richard Yorke said last year, estimating business contracted by at least 50% as the cost of food and cleaning supplies soared.

Yorke applied for funds from the federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) but was not granted any money. 

On Long Island, just 12% of restaurants, bars and catering halls won RRF grants before it ran out of money, according to a Newsday analysis of federal data. Approximately $270 million went to about 1,100 eating and drinking establishments in Nassau and Suffolk counties, the analysis shows, with an average grant amount of $248,250. About 40 businesses received more than $1 million each, while nearly 500 got less than $100,000, according to data from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Though he’s smarting from the closure, Mel Yorke, 86, the longtime greeter inside Mac & Melts and Richard's father, said his son would reopen Mac & Melts in the Plainview area within a few months. He wouldn’t specify the location, but hinted the 2.0 version of Mac & Melts would be housed within a larger food operation. “It looks very promising,” he said.  "We’ll be coming back with a fury.”

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