Diana Ezzell says she remembers being 5 years old, learning to flip grilled cheese sandwiches made of Kraft singles and Wonder Bread. Many kids likely have similar memories of eating a classic, gooey grilled cheese, dipped in tomato soup if mom heated up a cup of Campbell's.
Ezzell and her partners hope to capture a little bit of that nostalgia in their restaurant Dallas Grilled Cheese Co., which debuts its second Dallas spot at Mockingbird Station on Monday, Jan. 15.
The menu features the same one customers might know from the Bishop Arts District restaurant, which opened nearly three years ago to the day. And it includes founder Ezzell's personal recipe for tomato-basil soup, which the partners agree is the essential pairing with a grilled cheese.
They hope grilled cheese transcends trends. "We rode a trend — grilled cheese was trendy," says creative director and partner Mack Simpson, speaking of when the first Dallas Grilled Cheese Co. opened three years ago. "But we're not a trend."
Ezzell points out that kids love grilled cheeses. So do millennials — making the restaurant a perfect fit for the college students at Southern Methodist University across Central Expressway. Seniors like them, too, she says.
The restaurant is splashed with wood on the walls and tables. The bar top is made from the bed of an 18-wheeler that was abandoned in Dallas, and the trim around the bar was made out of a local church pew.
Partner Matthew Davis says the plan at the restaurant is to combine great service with a consistent menu and a cool atmosphere.
Dallas Grilled Cheese Co. joins a Mockingbird Station that's still anchored by indie movie theater the Angelika, Urban Outfitters and West Elm, but it's seen a little bit of restaurant turnover since mid-2017. Newcomers include Agu Ramen; Mezze; Edith's Patisserie; and an expanded, relocated Urban Taco.
Ezzell says they jumped at the opportunity to open Dallas Grilled Cheese Co. in Mockingbird Station. The brand might expand to other areas of Dallas-Fort Worth someday, "if the right opportunity presents itself," Simpson says. They don't seem like they're in a hurry.
Both restaurants use Empire Baking Company bread, one of the best bread shops in town. The barbecue in the sandwiches comes from Flower Mound's Front Porch BBQ Company.