A grilled cheese food truck-turned-restaurant is opening a second local brick-and-mortar location in downtown St. Petersburg, and hiring dozens of workers to staff it out.
Fo’Cheezy Twisted Meltz, which opened last summer in St. Pete Beach, will take over the spot formerly occupied by Five Guys Burgers and Fries at 111 Third St. N. The restaurant from Hell’s Kitchen alum Robert Hesse and restaurateur Craig Munroe is expected to open soon.
“The beach was our test,” Munroe said. “It was already kind of pre-built, as far as the structure of the restaurant, the kitchen layout, so we were forced into how we had to run things. This is a little bit different, in that we’re building it out completely, so we’re setting it up how a professional kitchen would be able to do high volume.”
Fo’Cheezy’s menu offers more than a dozen grilled cheese sandwiches featuring over-the-top toppings like fried chicken, mojo-roasted pork shoulder and crushed Doritos. The restaurant also serves tater tots, milkshakes and other decadent sides and desserts.
The restaurant will feature bright, colorful murals and decor, which Hesse said matches the outsized nature of his menu.
“For me, it was like being a kid in a candy store,” he said, likening the new restaurant to a blank canvas. “When you walk in there, you don’t know where you’re at. You could be in Los Angeles or Brooklyn, N.Y., or Las Vegas.”
At a time when many restaurants have struggled to hire workers, Fo’Cheezy decided to host a job fair next week at which it hopes to bring on board more than 40 employees, including cooks, servers, runners and cashiers. The event runs noon to 8 p.m. July 22 at the new downtown location. Applicants should bring a resume and come prepared for an interview.
Hesse, who will be on hand for the interviews, said he’s already seen an uptick in hiring in the local restaurant scene, as hospitality workers who had been receiving extra pandemic unemployment insurance decided to re-enter the labor market
“These guys were making like $1,000 just to stay at home. Why would they work for $10 an hour?” Hesse said. “I’m not saying (the extra unemployment) wasn’t needed. But what I’ve noticed is a lot more people in the last two weeks have come out of the woodwork, being like, ‘Yo, I’m ready to work.’”
For details on the job fair or new location, see facebook.com/focheezymeltzspb.