A new evening pop-up has arrived at the Mission Picnic space (983 Valencia Street) specializing in grilled cheese sandwiches, mac and cheese, and cheesy tots — all available for takeout or delivery.
It's called Total Meltdown, and if you're still living a no-carb, gotta-lose-the-COVID-15 lifestyle right now, you may want to stop reading right here. Tablehopper reported on the venture this week, and Mission Local reported that it actually began slinging gooey, cheesy food back in January. When Mission Picnic shuts down daily at 3 p.m., Mohamed Abdelmeguid, Francisco Bastidas, and Akop Jacob Paronyan take over with meal pickups and deliveries beginning at 4:15 p.m.
There are seven styles to choose from for your grilled cheese, mac and cheese, or tater tots/potato wedges, which include a Cuban-sandwich-inspired "Cuban O-so-good" (slow-cooked pork, ham, gruyere, and pickles," the Korean-inspired "Seoul Food" (gochujang-braised beef, kimchi, and gruyere), and "Cheesemonger" (a blend of gruyere, gouda, goat cheese, and mimolette).
There are also some add-ons like tomato soup, fried mac-and-cheese balls, a shaved Brussels sprout salad, and fried cheese "stix" perfect for dipping in one's tomato soup.
As Mission Local reports, Abdelmeguid and Bastidas had been running a food truck called Ruru Kitchen that was focused on far healthier stuff before the pandemic hit — like fruit bowls and smoothies.
Abdelmeguid, who immigrated from Egypt, and Bastidas, who immigrated from Ecuador, saw opportunities for opening a brick-and-mortar business as rents fell last year, but they also saw that what people wanted was comfort food, not health food.
Enter Paronyan, who's from Armenia, and had been working in kitchens around the Bay including Roland Passot's LB Steak in San Jose, which laid him off when COVID lockdowns began. Paronyan tells Mission Local that he convinced the other two to join him in launching this cheese-centric concept, and Total Meltdown was born.
The current business may have a shelf-life, but it's not clear what that is. Mission Picnic may eventually want to operate for longer hours, but for the moment, they say owner Sterling Tatsumi Price is happy to collect a little rent to make up for lost revenue, as they do their pop-up in the evenings.
Order your cheesy goodness here, for pickup or delivery.