If 2009 was the year of the haute dog
and 2010 was the year of the burger
, then 2011 is shaping up to be the year of the grilled cheese sandwich. No longer a sad vehicle for Kraft Singles
, the coffee shop staple has gone gourmet, as a number of eateries that serve inventive iterations of the sandwich are opening across the US.
: After Flip cam creator Jonathan Kaplan’s invention was axed by Cisco, he opted to change career paths, veering into the food industry by founding a nationwide chain of quick service grilled cheese sandwich restaurants
. While the transition from tech executive to dining entrepreneur may seem like a dubious professional move, the business model for the soon-to-launch Melt franchise will rely heavily on new media
. After ordering online or from their phones, patrons will be sent a QR barcode to be scanned upon arriving at The Melt. Back-end software and state-of-the art appliances from Electrolux ensure that a gooey, yet crisp, sandwich is ready within one minute of checking in.
The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen
: Counting a three-time Grilled Cheese Invitational champion
as a co-owner, San Francisco’s American Grilled Cheese Kitchen might have been burdened by abnormally high expectations. Fortunately, since opening its doors last year, it’s been fulfilling the reputation that precedes it. (Gaga
even made time to dine there while on tour.) Open for breakfast as well as lunch, the Kitchen offers a number of savory morning variations sure to be more effective for hangovers than the typical egg-and-cheese. And for regulars who’ve exhausted the signature Mousetrap sandwich, there remain numerous secret menu variations to be devoured—but, just like at In-N-Out
, one has to know the passwords