Monte Cristo, a victory indeed for grilled cheese fanatics. Photo courtesy Monte Cristo.

Seattle, you must really love grilled cheese.

When news surfaced earlier this week that Danielle Custer was leaving Taste to launch Monte Cristo, a food truck dedicated to the sandwich, Twitter lit up as if Ethan Stowell was dishing free pasta again. And that’s saying something.

Upon the announcement details were thin, so we rang Custer, who was sunning in Palm Springs but happy to field our questions.

She’s been thinking of branching out to do something cheese-centric for more than seven years. “My girlfriends will tell you how happy they are I’m actually doing it rather than talking about it,” she yukked. Custer is opening Cristo with two suits from Bon Appetit Management Company, which oversees operations at Taste.

The menu is still in the “early, early stages” but she promises lots of “ooey, gooey, melty” foods. To wit: Custer envisions a selection of six to eight gourmet melts alongside poutine, fried curds, and a cheesy pastry. Like any good Seattleite, Custer is all about using local ingredients but when you’re dealing in cheese—and into really interesting cheese—sometimes you have to go global. Breads will be Northwest and artisan.

Expect good things. Not for nothing does Custer—a former Food and Wine “Best New Chef” and recipient of the ’99 James Beard “Rising Star Chef” award—have such a fan club.

Ideally Monte Cristo will debut in time for the mid-may Seattle Cheese Festival. However, an exact date is up in the air. Check back for updates.

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