The couple opened Mad Munch Grilled Cheezer Co. May 29 in a completely remodeled former retail space at 4871-B Newport Ave.
They started their homegrown restaurant business six years ago, serving at farmers markets in OB and four or five other places every week “test driving” their new food concept.
The business’ origin dates back to when Zach started making and selling sandwiches from his college dorm room with a single electric griddle in Illinois in 2003. “We were just trying to make some money, it was like two for $1, just white bread and American cheese,” he said.
“They would deliver them,” added Kate. “They had to take their phone off the hook because it was ringing so much.”
The fledgling restaurateurs have been Obecians for about a decade. They met at Sunshine Company Saloon about eight years ago where they first became acquainted. That’s when Zach first proposed doing the farmers markets together.
Kate pointed out they were just about the first ones in San Diego to build on the cheese-sandwich concept.
Of their menu, Kate said: “We’re vegetarian-friendly but not vegan yet. We just kind of play around with [ingredients]. You can really put anything on a grilled cheese. We have a monthly special too.”
The menu offerings go from Zach Daddy, a spicy Italian cheezer, to Mexican corn, to French onion roast beef, etc. Mad Munch also has a limited breakfast menu Fridays through Sundays while supplies last with a variety of scrambled eggs, hash browns and cheese dishes.
Basic cost for the current assortment of 23 different cheese sandwiches is $7 for vegetarian items, $8 for meat. Chips and other sides are extra.
What of their business name?
“There was a guy outside one of the dorms I lived in called the Munchie man,” said Zach. “He was selling random snacks. That’s how me and my buddy got the name Mad Munch.”
Kate and Zach have menus in all the brewery tasting rooms on Newport Avenue for pickup. “Right now you have to come get it because it’s just the two of us,” Kate said. “We want to (eventually) do delivery.”
There is an interesting “mustache” wall in Mad Munch featuring framed photos of famous people, like former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka and late folk singer Jim Croce. “It’s going to grow in time,” predicted Kate.
So far, a lot of their clientele has been “very local,” said Kate, who lives near Mad Munch. “We care about OB and look forward to getting more involved,” she added.
“We’re members of OBMA,” noted Zach.
Mad Munch Grilled Cheezer Co.
4871-B Newport Ave.
Hours: 11 a.m.- 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays, closed Mondays.