After much anticipation, Everdine’s Handcrafted Grilled Cheese Company is now open in Downtown Naperville. Owned and operated by Naperville natives Kelly and Brian Herkert, the restaurant is named after their daughter, Everdine.
“It’s always been our dream to open a sandwich shop, grilled cheese place and it’s something that Naperville didn’t have yet so we thought that it was a perfect time,” said Kelly.
The two developed a love of grilled cheese during their honeymoon, where they backpacked on a tight budget.
Brian explains, “It was a choice between do we buy gasoline so we can keep going from Sydney to the Great Barrier Reef, or do we eat, so we could only afford bread, butter and cheese.”
Since then, their recipes have grown to include dozens of different ingredients.
“We started with 55 grilled cheeses on our menu, and we knew it was an unrealistic number, and when we got down to about 30 we had to start chiseling. It was tough to get down to 10, but we wanted to start simple, and build from there,” said Brian.
The menu is still evolving, and includes sides like mac and cheese, tomato soup and chicken ramen.
Brian explains the process, “I make everything in small batches. So we don’t make 10 pounds of mac and cheese or 10 pounds of Sloppy Joes, I make it in small two and a half pound batches at a time.”
“We slice everything fresh, all of our meats and cheeses we have a slicer back there we slice everything that day, our bread comes in every day. And of course your sandwich when you order it we make it right there on the griddle,” said Kelly.
And to see their griddle in action, Everdine’s head cook gave us a grilled cheese demonstration, making their most popular sandwich, The Usual Suspect, which includes three types of cheese, tomato and bacon.
Start off by covering one side of each piece of bread with butter.
Then add cheese, but remember, “Cover every inch of the bread. Every bit needs to be the same,” said Everdine’s head cook Gracjan Rusew.
Let the bread toast for a minute or two, cover and steam for 15 seconds to melt the cheese.
“See the cheese is all shinny,” added Rusew.
Then add bacon and tomato, combine the two halves and, “melty cheese, crispy bread, just like that,” he added.
Grilling up good eats, right here in town.
Everdine’s is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Naperville News 17’s Evan Summers reports.
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