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Mélange Has the Right Mix

New Downtown Restaurant Brings the Ultimate Dinner Party to Canton

Article by Brian Bailey

Photography by Joe Albert of J. Albert Studios

Originally published in Canton Lifestyle

Just a few weeks prior to the September 27 opening of Mélange restaurant in downtown Canton, we had the opportunity to speak with restaurant owner Nick Pamboukis. The Jackson Township resident took the time to tell us what sets Mélange apart from other area restaurants, including his popular Akron restaurant, Alexander Pierce.

First, tell us about your background and the Alexander Pierce restaurant.

I am an entrepreneur and own several businesses. I’ve previously owned restaurants. My family has owned restaurants. My wife’s family has owned restaurants. I guess it’s in our blood. Alexander Pierce, named after my children, was somewhat of an afterthought while we converted a nursing home that my grandmother once stayed in into luxury apartments. The large downstairs kitchen and dining room seemed perfect for a restaurant. Located just outside of downtown Akron on East Market Street, it opened in late 2019, just five months before COVID hit.

Why Canton?

I love what Canton is doing to invest in its downtown. There is a friendly atmosphere to do business. Working with the mayor, Thomas Bernabei, and everyone else involved has been great. We found what we feel is the best location in Downtown Canton. It’s the former Napoli’s restaurant, next to Centennial Plaza and across from the Renkert Building, which is being renovated into a new Marriott hotel.

Canton has many legacy restaurants that have been here for years and do a wonderful job. I just felt the area could use a modern, fine dining restaurant with a little more flair.

Speaking of flair, Mélange is billed as the "Ultimate Dinner Party." What does that mean?

Alexander Pierce in Akron is a classic steakhouse. It’s got the old Italian mobster speakeasy feel to it. Mélange, on the other hand, has a livelier décor. Think about the fine dining restaurants you see in Miami or along the Las Vegas Strip. We even have the same handblown glass flowers that you see in the Bellagio Hotel's lobby.

The music is lively and after dinner, only our restaurant guests are invited into The Encore Lounge, located behind the restaurant. It’s a club-like lounge atmosphere with a DJ and dancing. We were shooting for a more mature atmosphere than you get from most clubs in the area.

Is the menu a true “mélange” of cuisines? Tell us about the menu.

Yes. Mélange means mix. First, we’ve mixed fine dining with a club atmosphere. Second, the menu is inspired [by cuisine] from all over the world. We have split Caribbean lobster and we have Korean corn dogs as an appetizer. It’s a little bit of everything. Honestly, the menu is so good that I can’t pick a favorite for myself. We only buy USDA Prime steaks and we don’t skimp on anything. We are priced mid-to-high end but deliver quality that is unsurpassed.

Who is the chef?

Chef Frank Hill is someone I have known as a friend for a long time. He has an impressive resume starting with his training at the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts before working at some of the area’s top restaurants and country clubs. He also owned his own restaurant before moving away to North Carolina. He was returning to the area as we were opening Alexander Pierce and we really hit it off with him as the Executive Chef. Chef Frank will oversee the chefs at both restaurants.

 Can our readers host special events or private parties at Mélange?

We are a little limited on space here, but we do have a few options. Mélange has an upper dining level that is semi-private and can host up to 18 comfortably for private dining. The enclosed patio is a great option for three seasons and can be reserved for private dining for 18-20 people. Finally, the Encore Lounge can host a larger function of 45-50 people and have DJ with guests walking around enjoying heavy appetizers.

What else would you like to share with the readers of Canton Lifestyle?

First, we don’t want anyone to worry about parking. We are offering valet every single night and will validate parking passes at the Onesto garage behind the restaurant. Second, if you haven’t visited downtown in a while, you should come back to see and enjoy all the wonderful things that are happening.

For more information or to make reservations, visit