An Open Letter to a Grilled-Cheese Restaurateur

Can it get any better?

Can it get any better?

By Jonathan Bender | Pitch

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing to inquire as to the possibility of opening a restaurant or food truck, dedicated to the fine art of grilling cheese, here in Kansas City. I will lay out the reasons that this city is now ready to support an institution dedicated solely to grilled cheese. Also, I’ve got $10 for you.

As we continue to work to shed the label of “cowtown,” we would still embrace a cheese-based shop. Cheesehead may not have made it in the Crossroads, but that’s just because it was an idea that was before its time. (It was before my time in town, as well, so I can’t say whether it’s the model we should look to bring back.) However, let’s consider the reasons that a location devoted to grilled cheese would be successful today.

KC has outstanding local ingredients. Shatto has a new cheese-making facility that puts out artisan cheese and cheese curds (which you can sample at Blanc Burgers + Bottles). The sheep’s-milk cheese from Green Dirt Farm is earthy and decadent. Chef Jasper J. Mirabile Jr. could whip you up some mozzarella or ricotta. And when it comes to bread, you’ve got Farm to Market, Fervere, and Meadowlark Acres.

The city is beginning to cultivate a food-truck culture, just ask chef Kelli Daniels of The Good You. What sounds great late at night? A grilled mound of melt-y cheese. And suddenly, it’s not as hard to be a vegetarian in this town. You’ll have a hungry crowd of veggie-loving diners showering you with praise before you even open.

I strongly urge you to consider bringing your panini maker to Kansas City or at least loaning it to The Better Cheddar. The time has come for a grilled cheese sandwich shop to return to Kansas City.

Fond(ue) regards,
Jonathan Bender