Biting into a Mother Clucker, the perfectly flavorful combination of onion, artichoke hearts, chunks of chicken, and grilled cheese nestled between two crispy buttery pieces of toast comes to life. The Pepper Popper is also full of tastiness; comprised of fresh jalapeños, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese, it adds a bit of spice and savor to what would otherwise be just a plain grilled cheese sandwich.
These are the two favorite sandwiches of GourMelt’s owners Haley Moseley and Jessie Henderson who recently opened Sparks’ newest GourMelt location on 113 Los Altos Boulevard #108.
The two friends met at a restaurant that they helped manage 20 years ago located close to the University of Nevada, Reno when they decided to break off and do their own thing. With some food industry experience under their belt, they bought and operated a food truck under the GourMelt name in 2011. For four years, Henderson and Moseley took it around to office buildings and events in the Reno/ Sparks area, serving lunch items.
“We had a phone app where people could figure out where we were and find us,” Moseley says.
“Sometimes we’d go to the same spot several times a month and people knew that we’d be there,” Henderson adds.
The pair went to school events, Food Truck Fridays, and drove that truck “to the max” before selling it to open a brick and mortar restaurant in Reno.
“Our goal was always to open a restaurant,” Moseley says. They add that after attending UNR, the ladies created a business plan and a developed a menu but couldn’t find the capital to open a dining establishment. So, they instead pooled their resources and bought the truck.
“Selling the truck was a hard thing for us to do because we didn’t want to let go of the brand,” Henderson says, but having a food truck or a physical sandwich shop both came with its pros and cons.
“Food trucking is not easy, when it’s hot outside, it’s way hotter in the truck, and when it’s cold, it’s a lot colder in the truck. Sometimes people would be working with a down jacket, beanie, and gloves on, still shivering. There are a lot of restrictions, too, like how we could only be at one spot for three hours,” Henderson says.
“A food truck is harder to be successful at, but ours was successful because it was just Haley and I,” she adds.
“People still come in and ask about the truck even though it hasn’t run in years,” Moseley adds.
In 2014, the pair opened Two Chicks in Midtown Reno. It’s a breakfast spot, but they still served some GourMelt sandwiches. In 2016, they opened their first GourMelt sandwich shop in University Terrace near UNR, but quickly outgrew the space.
“(The GourMelt at University Terrace) was small, it was only 500 square feet in an old garage with limited parking. We looked for a long time to find this location,” Moseley says about their new Los Altos Parkway spot. Henderson and Moseley searched for two years before they found the space in Sparks, which they feel is ideally positioned amongst shopping outlets with plenty of parking.
As the 188th dining establishment to open in Sparks, GourMelt officially opened on Jan. 10. On that day, the restaurant sold more than 400 sandwiches in its 1500-square-foot/28-seat place.
“The response has been overwhelming. It was a scary decision closing one restaurant and opening a new one in a new area, but so many people are literally thanking us for being here, it feels good,” Henderson says.
Moseley and Henderson light up when they talk about the customers who’ve been with them since the beginning, mentioning a couple whose wedding they catered and now they come to GourMelt with their young kids.
“Having a sandwich brings back memories of where people were at that time,” they say.
“I think we’re both really surprised at how well we’ve been received. It’s been great, we’re really happy to be here,” Moseley says.
GourMelt is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. To view GourMelt’s menu, visit gourmeltnv.com.