Team American

Our History & MissionHeidi and Nate Restaurant Interior Wall of Cheese

Heidi and Nate opened The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen in May 2010, during the peak of the Great Recession. Recently laid off from their office jobs, and Heidi just winning her 7th national grilled cheese championship (a hobby!), Heidi and Nate cashed in their savings and decided to go pro.

They were united to fulfill a common Mission:

“to serve exceptional American comfort food using the highest quality local and unique ingredients; with the best possible individualized service”

The American’s menu stems from years of menu development, recipe testing, and deep relationships with San Francisco and the West Coast’s local food ecosystem. Some of our featured vendors include:

– Pinkie’s Bakery (San Francisco)
– Artisan Bakers (Sonoma)
– Tillamook County Creamery Association (Tillamook, OR)Champion – Zoe’s Meats (Petaluma)
– Golden Gate Meats (San Francisco)
– Willie Bird Farms (Sonoma)
– Laura Chenel Creamery
– Point Reyes Creamery (Point Reyes)
– Vegiworks (San Francisco)
– B&R Farms (Hollister)
– Kolowski Farms (Sonoma)

Heidi Gibson, Commander-in-Cheese

Heidi is the menu architect and co-owner of The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen. As the winningest Grilled Cheese Invitational contestant in history, Heidi dreamt up the concept of a gourmet grilled cheese restaurant after numerous fans, rival grilled-cheese chefs, sandwich judges, family, and friends encouraged her. Her culinary creativity stems from years as a competitive grilled-cheese chef, and a scientific approach to sandwich making as she also holds bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in engineering from MIT.

Nate Pollak, The Big Cheese

Nate is the general manager and co-owner of The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen. After assisting in Heidi’s recent grilled cheese competitions, Nate made it his mission to pair Heidi’s culinary talents with a grilled cheese-deprived world. Nate helped pay his way though UCLA as an economics and classics scholar through multiple food-service positions. Nate draws on these restaurant experiences as a host, server, and bartender/bar manager to create the inviting atmosphere at The American.



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