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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

American Grilled Cheese Kitchen Hopes for March Opening

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2010 at 3:08 PM

click to enlarge Heidi Gibson confers with architect Wylie Price at the South Park site. - AMERICAN GRILLED CHEESE KITCHEN
  • American Grilled Cheese Kitchen
  • Heidi Gibson confers with architect Wylie Price at the South Park site.
Is it possible to turn Kama Sutra success into a viable restaurant career? Heidi Gibson means to find out. This spring, the 37-year-old former tech worker plans to open the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen in South Park, a breakfast-and-lunch café devoted to everybody's favorite sandwich. And while Gibson has essentially zero restaurant experience, she has scored multiple successes at the annual Grilled Cheese Invitational ― including in the GCI's Kama Sutra freestyle category.

Gibson's partner in business (and life) is 26-year-old Nate Pollak ("We're a bit of a cougar couple," she admits). The 950-square-foot space at 1 South Park (at Second St.) is halfway through build-out. With two degrees from MIT, Gibson is a kind of grilled cheese engineer. Spurning traditional panini machines (she thinks they're too messy), Gibson's invested in a TurboChef impingement oven, which circulates superheated air. "It cooks the perfect grilled cheese sandwich in about a minute," she says.

The opening menu includes a classic grilled cheese ― the Mousetrap ― a mix of cheddar, Havarti, and Jack on sourdough, as well as the Reubenesque: Gruyère, pastrami, pickles, and sauerkraut on rye. Gibson has also developed a tomato soup that skews smoky from Spanish pimentón. Sandwich prices: $6-$9. Follow the restaurant's progress on Facebook.

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