Rebel Heroes dies, Big Cheese is born
Editor's Note -- This is Tim Carman's first post for the Going Out Guide. He recently joined The Post's staff to write about food.
On Oct 8, the Rebel Heroes food truck sent a message to its 2,700-plus followers on Twitter, encouraging them to arrive early at the corner of North Moore Street and Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn. "Last chance of the season!" the Tweet warned.
The announcement proved to be something of an understatement.
Rebel Heroes' Tan Nguyen couldn't be
reached for comment, but Rathbone, a former general manager at the
Cosi locations in Rosslyn and Virginia Square, says the owners offered
to sell him the entire concept. The Rebel Heroes truck, with its
built-in sandwich refrigerator and flattop, suited Rathbone's purposes.
Rebel Heroes' lusty, modern approach to pressed Cuban and Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, however, did not. "I don't eat meat," Rathbone says.
If Rebel Heroes slowly wheezed to death in private, away from the many bloggers and social media devotees who follow these motorized lunch wagons, then The Big Cheese plans to slowly enter the street-vendor market with a handful of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. Rathbone will launch his truck next week, either in Arlington or the District, with six gooey sandwich options, most of which are built from cheeses sold by Cowgirl Creamery and breads from Lyon Bakery.
Each of Rathbone's sandwiches takes its name -- at least in part -- from the featured cheese. The "Mt. Fuji," for example, is layered with both Fuji apples and Cowgirl's Mt. Tam triple-cream cheese. The "Ashed Log" is a sandwich that combines Pipe Dreams goat cheese of the same name with tarragon and tomato, while the "Barely Buzzed" delivers a small jolt from the Beehive brand cheddar cheese, whose rind is rubbed with a combination of ground espresso beans, lavender and vegetable oil. Each sandwich will sell for $6. "More or less," the owner says.
To help customers ward off the December chill, Rathbone will also sell bowls of tomato soup, the classic partner to any wintertime grilled cheese sandwich. The small will go for $2 a bowl and the large for $4. And what about Rathbone? How will he stay warm over the coming weeks?
"The flattop definitely heats up the truck," he says.
You can follow The Big Cheese truck on Twitter.
| December 8, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
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