At Mel’s, serving customers is like serving old friends

For family owned and operated Mel’s Deli and Cafe in Montoursville, serving customers is a lot like serving old friends.

“I grew up just a few blocks from here,” said Melony “Mel” Hartranft, owner.

Hartranft, born and raised in Montoursville, loves serving the people of Montoursville.

“It’s great. I love the people who come in, and we definitely have our regulars,” Hartranft said.

Both of her children, Dewey Hauser and Aubri Hartranft, work at the deli. Her husband, Sean Hartranft, is well known for being the handy man around the deli if anything needs fixed.

Mel’s opened its Broad Street location on April 15, 2015. Hartranft used to have a location in Williamsport that opened in 2002, but it closed in 2009. She kept up a catering business until the new Montoursville location opened, and now the catering still runs out of Mel’s Deli and Cafe.

Mel’s is open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Fridays. On Saturdays, the hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and closed on Sundays. Catering is available by appointment.

The menu choices featuring typical American deli style dishes are available to dine in or order take out, and there is a deli case with ready made food as well.

“All the women in my family are very good cooks. I kind of learned from them. They were always making something, so that’s how I got started,” Hartranft said. “It’s just a lot of family recipes brought together because that’s where I learned to cook.”

She comes from a family of great cooks.

“It’s all stuff handed down from my mom, my grandmother, everybody,” she said. “Sometimes the family recipes are old enough I don’t even know where they first came from, but there’s also our own new recipes, too.”

She enjoys making up new recipes, especially the four homemade soups on the menu that change daily.

“It’s from just putting things together and tweaking it a little bit to make it our own,” she said.

Her personal favorite is the sandwich titled “Mel’s Favorite,” which is a turkey breast, bacon and Swiss cheese sandwich.

She tries to keep things as local as possible, selling an assortment of local items in her store like Debra Ritter’s In a Jam jellies and jams, High Mountain Coffee, Daryl Rebuck’s honey, Pure Sullivan County Maple Syrup and Wild Mountain Gourmet Mustards.

Supporting local products is important to her.

“I buy a lot of local stuff,” she said. “All of our meats are local … I like to help out the local people whenever possible instead of being so corporate.”

Keeping things fresh is also important to her as new awnings were installed in late December, and a new menu came in late January. She hopes to also have new signage and some outdoor seating available in the future.