When it comes to grilled cheese, we’re of the mindset that you can never have too many. Unless of course you’ve had too many, then you’re in trouble. But nevermind doomsday proclamations, enter Fromage Garage, a new gourmet sandwich establishment with an endless matrix of house-made bread, cheese, and flavored butters. The Williamsburg restaurant boasts that, between its specialty sandos, custom built melts, and grilled desserts, you can have a different creation every day for two years. Go on, try it. We dare you.
The cheesy concept opens today in the old Pork Pie Hatters space, a sign that we’re delectably close to having fedoras depart from our field of vision forever. Owner Eddy Fontana, formerly of Rosarito Fish Shack and La Pulperia, modeled his 28-seat restaurant after his dad’s auto body garage. Quirky details like metallic gears poured into the concrete countertop and a wall of battered license plates, give the place a charming feel without being overly polished.
Still, you won’t feel like a grease monkey after sitting down to one of these sandwiches, which need we say are not exactly Kraft-n’-Wonderbread desperation meals. Their items, which are priced around $7, are built with 24 add-ons that range from tomato jam to chickpeas. They encourage you to customize your melt– to the delight of your stomach and their cash registers– and use any of their toppings on a salad. All sandwiches can be made vegan and gluten-free.
The specialty sandwiches, which are all created by Fontana, have playful auto-inspired names. Nacho-Daddy Cadillac puts the best parts of a nacho platter—cheddar, scallions, and black beans—between sourdough. Others are takes on classic sandwiches, like Timing Belt, made with bacon and chipotle mayo.
The menu is full of items that are deeply nostalgic for Fontana. Just as Sophia Loren famously professed her debt to spaghetti, Fontana owes everything he has to grilled cheese. “Cheesers,” as he fondly calls them, were the first thing he learned to make as a kid and they are his go-to comfort food. His dessert Don Eddy—mascarpone cheese and chutney pressed between slices of brioche—is an ode to his mechanic father’s favorite dessert. “I want to nurture people’s souls through their bellies,” Fontana said.
The shop opens early (it’s right by the Lorimer L stop) with a limited menu of pastries, frittatas, egg in basket, and Kitten coffee. In a few weeks you can purchase a loaf of their homemade brioche, sourdough, gluten-free, multi-grain bread ($7) to make your own creations at home.
Fromage Garage, 441 Metropolitan Ave; open Sunday through Thursday from 8am to 11pm, Friday and Saturday from 8am to 2am.