‘Tis a dark, dark day for fans of the grilled cheese sandwich. Monte Cristo’s Danielle Custer has announced her entire melty, gooey operation is leaving Seattle, heading down I5 to take a full-time gig feeding staffers at a technology company in Portland. That’s one hell of an employee perk.
Custer spread word this morning via email and blog; I’m trying to get a hold of her for more details. The truck’s debut last year was notable because Custer was a chef with a laudable brick-and-mortar background, making a move to go mobile. Most recently she was director at Taste restaurant and in the course of her career snagged a Food and Wine “Best New Chef” award and the ’99 James Beard “Rising Star Chef” award. There's also the small matter of those sandwiches being goddamn, gut-bustingly delicious, though I was an especial sucker for the fried cheese curds.
Monte Cristo is backed by Bon Appetit (the food service company, not the magazine) and in many ways proof of how thoroughly food trucks have established themselves in our restaurant scene. The truck was also one of the buzziest street food arrivals of 2012.
Custer says Monte will stil roam the streets of Seattle for a few more weeks; a farewell lunch party is happening Friday, August 16, at Second and Pike. Cheese Wizards and the Grilled Cheese Experience will be left carrying the mantle of mobile grilled cheese gratification here in town.