Since its creation in 2005, the Meliora Burger, with that special orange, sweet, spicy and tangy “Mel sauce,” has been by far the most popular item on The Meliora Restaurant menu among UR students and faculty alike.
At the beginning of the semester, however, students and faculty began to notice that the Mel sauce tasted drastically different, and they were not happy with the change.
“It [was] different, more bitter, [and] not as good,” junior Priyanka Shetty said. “[There] was a weird aftertaste, I didn’t like it.”
Shetty often orders an extra side of Mel sauce to dip her French fries in.
“It tasted like mayonnaise,” Faculty Club and Meliora Manager William Letky said.
Rumors began to surround the change in the Mel sauce, the most prominent being that the two executive chefs who knew the recipe for the Mel sauce left The Meliora Restaurant and took the secret recipe along with them. These rumors even went so far as to circulate among the faculty members at the Meliora, causing some to try to get to the bottom of the issue.
“Well I heard through my servers that [the sauce] was different,” Letky said. “As soon as I found out, I tried to work it out.”
Campus Executive Chef Antonio Pignagrande and Meliora Executive Chef Brian Mattice both confirmed that these rumors are false.
“The recipe was changed inadvertently,” Pignagrande said. “Long story short, when we entered the recipe in our recipe system database, for some reason it changed the quantities in some of the ingredients.”
In fact, Pignagrande and a previous chef at the Meliora created the Mel sauce. Since the sauce was created it has gradually changed as other Meliora chefs have put their own unique touches on it.
As soon as Dining was alerted about the malfunction in the recipe system, they immediately began finding ways to get the Mel sauce back to its original recipe.
“We have perfected it in the last few weeks,” Mattice said.
While trying to revert the Mel sauce back, the chefs made the sauce a little bit sweeter, which they believe makes it even better than it was last year, according to Mattice.
Despite the controversy over the Mel sauce earlier in the year, the Meliora Burger still remains the most ordered item on the menu.
“The Mel Burger has taken on a cult following,” Pignagrande said.
“The other stuff isn’t as good as the Meliora burger,” junior Zachary Fletcher said. “It’s actually a hamburger that’s decent.”
Mattice reported that the Meliora uses six to seven gallons of Mel sauce a week because students often order extra sides of the popular sauce. Due to its many loyal supporters, Dining Services has decided to come out with an enhanced Meliora Burger special, which will include a double Meliora cheeseburger that has nearly a pound of meat.
“I want to push the Meliora Burger to the next level and make it a little more crazy,” Mattice said.
While many students are excited about the Meliora Burger upgrade, some struggle to even polish off the original version.
“I think it’s a challenge to finish,” junior Laura Vidler said. “It’s a big commitment.”
Berkowitz is a member of the class of 2012.