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The Melting Pot Wants to Open its First Fondue Restaurant in the Des Moines Metro

January 24, 2024 Des Moines Register

The Melting Pot, the home of cheese and chocolate fondue dishes, wants to open a location in the Des Moines metro.

Collin Benyo, the Melting Pot franchise growth strategist, sees Ankeny, downtown Des Moines or West Des Moines as an ideal location for the chain.

“I really see Des Moines as a one-horse city. We have such a vast reach of where we pull guests counts from and we know that because we actually track that to understand where they're coming from and how far they're traveling,” he said.

The Tampa, Florida-based Melting Pot originally opened in 1975 and now has more than 100 locations in 31 states as well as Canada and Mexico.  Back in 2014, the chain looked for a franchisee in the Des Moines metro.

Benyo met with potential franchisees in Ankeny and West Des Moines. It could take 18 months from site selection to build out and then training to open the location.

What does The Melting Pot serve?

Fondue cooked at the table is at the heart of the menu here.

Diners can order four courses at the restaurant. Swiss and cheddar to the two most popular cheese fondues, and both use cheeses from Wisconsin. Customers dip artisan breads, fruits and veggies using a fondue fork.

Benyo said the Caesars salad is his favorite from the salad course.

“We actually have standard recipes that go into every Melting Pot, but each Melting Pot is actually offered the ability to do their local favorites,” Benyo said.

Main course options include proteins such as filet mignon, teriyaki-marinated sirloin, herb-crusted chicken breast, shrimp, Atlantic salmon, or wild mushrooms. Diners then choose a broth from options including court bouillon, burgundy wine coq au vin, a Caribbean-inspired broth, cast-iron grill, or bourguignonne. Green Goddess is the most popular dipping sauce.

Dessert brings white, milk, or dark chocolate fondue. The flaming turtle with milk chocolate, caramel and pecans is the most popular. Cream puffs, cheesecake and macarons are just some of the dipping options.

Benyo said that after running his own Melting Pot for 15 years, he learned the customers really anticipated coming into the restaurant. He called the restaurant a “celebratory place” for birthdays and anniversaries.

“We have people that would circle us on their calendar for a month out,” he said. “When people walk in the door, they’re excited. They’re already ready to have a good time. So really the job of the brand is to only maintain that excitement or even just try to a little bit to improve it.”


Susan Stapleton
Des Moines Register

Susan Stapleton is the entertainment editor and dining reporter at The Des Moines Register. Follow her on Facebook, X, or Instagram, or drop her a line at

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