Little Rock's first gourmet grilled cheese restaurant open for business

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A traditional grilled cheese sandwich consists of American cheese, white bread and maybe some butter, but for Little Rock's newest restaurant, there is more to a grilled cheese sandwich than that.

As soon as 18-year-old Jacob Prather took one bite, sounds of delight escaped from his mouth.

"Oh my goodness, said Prather.

Prather ordered a sandwich with chipotle, pork, Fontina cheese and sauteed onions on sourdough bread. The Main Cheese puts an extra cheesy twist on this classic American comfort food. Even their original grilled cheese is not basic.

"It is just something we thought Little Rock was ready for," said General Manager Adam Kaelin.

The owners of The Main Cheese are not originally from Little Rock. One of the owners and Kaelin are from Texas. The other owners are from California. Kaelin moved to Little Rock from Dallas about four years ago. He said opening this restaurant is a dream come true.

"Up north, in the Northeast, and on the West Coast, we're seeing grilled cheese pop up as a new cuisine, and we thought it was time for us to be the original in Little Rock," said Kaelin.

"Little Rock has always, pardon the pun, been hungry for new exciting restaurants," said Randall Van Den Berghe.

And that hunger is growing. Steve Shuler is the host of the Little Rock Foodcast. He said The Main Cheese is the next step in growing Little Rock's reputation as a "foodie" town.

"They are using Arkansas breads," said Steve Schuler. "They are using fresh local produce. That is really what the foodie community is really excited about."

Shuler said developing this type of relationship between the restaurant and the farmer is really what is going to get more restaurants here. It is also about the people.

"Just basically takes people walking in the door, getting a bite to eat and doing it on a consistent enough basis that quality restaurants can actually survive," said Schuler.

And for diners, like Jacob, these grilled cheese sandwiches are leaving them hungry for more.

"I really liked it," said Prather. "I'm definitely going to come back and try some of the other more interesting takes on it."

The Main Cheese is the first of its kind in Central Arkansas.

The restaurant's signature dish is named after the place. This grilled cheese is made up of Muenster, Fontina and Cheddar cheese on sourdough bread. You can add whatever you want to their signature sandwich. They also have grilled cheese sandwiches with chicken and pork.

They're open Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, they are open until 9:30 p.m. They are located in the Pinnacle Station shopping center at 14524 Cantrell Road in Little Rock.

For more information, click here.


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