Soft white bread and Kraft yellow American singles are the ingredients of childhood memories.
Add butter and heat, and those simple components become a grilled cheese – probably the gooiest, most satisfyingly consistent, cross-generational comfort food in a home cook’s arsenal.
And Lauren Kulesz, owner of new food truck Mobile Meltdown, knows all about that.
The former Oobe apparel designer recalls her mom’s keeping their family dinners fairly simple, and grilled cheese was often on rotation. So when sorting through 10-15 years of ideas for a restaurant she would run, the concept of grilled cheese kept popping up.
“It’s universally loved,” she says.
She says the purpose of her venture at its core is to bring people together and give them comfort food, which, for her, normally means gravitating toward pizza, pasta, or grilled cheese. Looking at the other food truck and restaurant options in Greenville, the latter seemed to be missing. And versatility was a key deciding factor.
Grilled cheese options and variations are endless, Kulesz says, calling cheese and bread a “blank canvas.”
“You can build upon it and create a lot of different types of sandwiches,” she says.
The Mobile Meltdown menu is simple. Sides include tomato basil bisque, deep-fried mashed potato balls, and house-made chips, and the four sandwiches showcase a range of sweet, savory, and spicy while catering to a variety of tastes.
First, The Classic – white American cheese served on freshly baked bread from the Publix bakery – is one Kulesz says will be a constant on the menu even as she experiments with other combinations.
Next, Brie & Bacon – double cream brie and crispy bacon with a drizzle of raspberry reduction glaze served on a freshly baked butter croissant – is a rendition of a traditional baked brie in puff pastry Kulesz makes for Christmas each year.
The Spicy Pig – hot capocollo ham and a manchego-Jarlsberg cheese blend, topped with a sprinkle of diced jalapenos and a drizzle of balsamic reduction glaze and served on freshly baked bread – was inspired by an annual tapas-and-wine party Kulesz threw for her friends and family. The original version that she couldn’t make fast enough for her guests’ appetites included chorizo, manchego, roasted red peppers, and balsamic on French bread. She took that base and tweaked it with help from taste-testing friends into the current savory and slightly spicy version on the menu.
And lastly, the Vegan It Too is a completely plant-based sandwich with house-made herb cashew cheese, baby portabello mushrooms and spinach sauteed in garlic, and balsamic vinegar, served on vegan white bread. Kulesz added this to the line-up when planning her first pop-up event in May at The Community Tap.
That inaugural event, with 60 tickets coming in at once and a torrential downpour flooding her tent, was the tough but important learning experience that allowed Kulesz to revamp her processes, finalize the business plan, and in September, with help from an investor, buy the food truck she’s named “Pearl.” After her first full month in operation, having left her position at Oobe, she says she’s ready for this next stage of running a small business.
Follow @mobilemeltdownfoodtruck on Instagram for the weekly schedule of locations.