Grilled Cheese Goes Upscale — And Comes To Town

You know the saying: One door closes, another opens.

Well, sometimes it’s right next door.

Though Great Cakes ended its 32-year run on Sunday, that small Post Road East strip mall will soon see a new tenant.

The Grilled Cheese Eatery grills its first cheese in a couple of weeks. It’s the 2nd location; the 1st opened last October, in Fairfield.

Henri and Ivanina Donneaux

Henri and Ivanina Donneaux

It’s the brainchild of Henri and Ivanina Donneaux. He’s a French-born chef, who’s lived in the US for over 25 years. She’s Bulgarian, with a long career in food and beverages.

They married 8 years ago and opened Cafe Lola, in Fairfield. They imagined it as a “quirky, fun” French bistro. But gradually the clientele skewed older.

In their mid-40s, with a 3-year-old, they began talking about a place where adults could enjoy sophisticated food, but at the same time be casual enough for kids and teenagers.

“Who doesn’t like grilled cheese?” Ivanina asks.

With the current trend in restaurants to 1-food menus, that hit the spot.

The menu ranges from the classic grilled cheese...

The menu ranges from the classic grilled cheese…

The Eatery does not do grilled cheese like Friendly’s. There are 15 varieties, including “The Smoky” (smoked Gouda, Muenster, baby back ribs, pickles, caramelized onions on sour dough), “The Gardener” (goat cheese, Fontina, 5 grilled vegetables, basil, olives on 9-grain) and “The Chesapeake” (crab cake, roasted peppers, Panko crisp, dill Havarti on English muffin).

There are 3 types of specialty fries (rosemary-parmesan, feta-oregano and Gruyere-truffle oil); several soups, and a create-your-own salad with over 40 ingredients.

All sandwiches can be ordered on gluten-free bread. At least 2 soups a day are dairy- and gluten-free. Even the French onion soup is vegan.

...to one with ribs and caramelized onions.

…to one with ribs and caramelized onions.

The Westport location will be smaller than Fairfield: 10 seats, and a stand-up ledge. There is no bar. Ivanina and Henri plan to do plenty of takeout and catering.

The Grilled Cheese Eatery seems to have thought of everything.

Including a perfect — no, genius — location.

Once you’ve finished that mac-and-cheese grilled cheese, the boneless hot wings grilled cheese, or any other variety, just walk out the door and up a few steps.

Target Training fitness center is waiting.

13 responses to “Grilled Cheese Goes Upscale — And Comes To Town

  1. Richard Lawrence Stein

    This place is awesome!!!! Great wine selection…. Beer selection is micro and great…. And the food is fun, creative, comforting, and most importantly tasty tasty tasty!!!!

  2. wish it had more than 10 seats.. Take out grilled cheese is not appetizing

  3. Sandy Soennichsen

    Well, lets see, the grilled cheese, plain starts at $8, add fries for another $4, and a small soup is another $4, so for $16 you have lunch. Oh yeah, such a deal! You gotta be kidding. Most delis in town, about $5 for the sandwich, so you already save $3.

    • You are right. We could not hope to compete with any of the fabulous Westport delicatessens on price. Our hope is to land in a slightly different category, based on the ingredients and quality of our food. I do hope you would give us a try at least once.

  4. Ivanina – welcome to Westport; will you consider adding a separate grill to make gluten free grilled cheese sandwiches? This would be tremendously appealing to the many families with children who cannot eat gluten for medical reasons. Maybe a small pannini press would do (as example and I have no connection to the brand: http://www.brevilleusa.com/panini-grill-bgr200xl.html). Lunch out is very challenging for the gluten free (again, for medical reasons, not as a fad diet).

    • Hello Monika, Yes – we will absolutely add a gluten free- designated grill! It is a great suggestion – thank you. We will try to do all we can to accommodate gluten-free diets. Many of our soups are also gluten free. Help us spread the word, please. We look forward to welcoming you soon.

  5. Arline P.Gertzoff

    Nice people and I wish them good luck.I believe Henri Donneaux is Belgian from Liege.

  6. Nancy Powers Conklin

    My husband and I tried the one in Fairfield in December. The food was “just ok” and it was overpriced. When we left we said we didn’t need to eat there again. That’s just our opinion.