The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen—Not your mama’s grilled cheese

By Kim Fortson

The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen
There is an art and a science to nearly everything, but when it comes to grilled cheese sandwiches, co-owners Nate Pollak and Heidi Gibson of The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen turn to engineering. MIT grad Heidi brings her degree to the griddle, crafting sandwiches with a matrix approach—emphasizing taste, texture, and structure—to ensure consistency in every bite. The Mushroom Gruyère is the perfect example.

But since we already know the two have mastered their eponymous dish, we’re focused on their latest project: dinner. Make the kid in you smile with an order of chicken and biscuits. The crispy, flavorful buttermilk fried chicken tenders, accompanied by house-made mini-biscuits and a citrusy kale slaw, kick your childhood favorite to the curb. The All-American burger lives up to its name: A tender but not-too-rare patty nestled between fresh local pickles, tomatoes, and lettuce is served on a challah bun for a sweet twist. Add a side of crispy Brussels sprouts or fries and a chocolaty Point Reyes Porter from Marin Brewing Co., and you’ll see Gibson and Pollak have aced it once again.

menu musts*

Brussels sprouts
Point Reyes Porter
Chicken n' biscuits
All-American Burger
view full menu here

... on the side

eye for design
A delightful mix of trinkets and curiosities peep from wooden shelves over the bar—the mark of Wylie Price, the Bay Area architect who designed this space in addition to those of Trick Dog, Fatted Calf, and the newly remodeled State Bird Provisions. The artwork—a large wooden slab of toast, a beautiful painted mural inspired by family heirlooms, a “cheese drip” over the back wall, and a painting of a zebra ogling a floating grilled cheese—borders on kitsch, but exudes the friendly, artisanal spirit of a new-age neighborhood joint—which it is: Most of the art is the work of Drew Bennett, a local artist.

keepin’ it in the neighborhood
Pollak and Gibson strive to keep all of their ingredients as local as possible. The bread is from Pinkie’s, the cheese from places like Sonoma, and their coffee (good for their infamous breakfast sandwiches) from De La Paz, which was started just a block away. You can order all of it online or through their iPhone app—in true San Francisco fashion.

decibels
Medium

hours

Mon–Fri 9 AM–9PM; Sat–Sun 10 AM–9 PM

price range

$6 (grilled cheese) to $12 (full dinner entrées)
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