Everyone loves grilled cheese. It’s full of flavor. It’s comforting. It’s familiar.
And it’s even better when you use different kinds of cheese and pack it full of delicious ingredients. Technically, putting anything besides cheese in it makes it a “melt,” but who cares! The point is, it’s great.
That’s why Annika’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese Laboratory has come to us in our time of need.
Named after Mark Sellers’ daughter, Annika, this new takeout and delivery spot is operating out of Max’s South Seas Hideaway. It follows the “ghost restaurant” trend that Sellers saw in larger cities, where an eatery operates without its own dedicated dining space. Even before the pandemic, it was a great way for restaurants that didn’t really fit the takeout model to still have food to-go. It’s even more useful now, when Max’s is sitting with a large amount of unused kitchen capacity.
To be clear, Annika’s isn’t replacing Max’s in any way, it’s a separate concept that happens to use the same kitchen. The grilled cheese “lab” allows the restaurant to hire slightly more staff and keep the space afloat, which is very helpful considering that Max’s brand was largely built around the experience of dining in, something that isn’t possible right now.
As for the food, there is nowhere else in Grand Rapids focusing to this extent on grilled cheese, and it’s a perfect takeout comfort meal. The concept came from Sellers, and the actual menu was developed by chef Rich Williams.
Made with three kinds of cheese, Annika’s offers a variety of special options, such as the That Nashville Is So Hot Right Now, with Nashville hot fried chicken, pimento cheese, slaw, pickles and “American” (i.e. ranch) dressing. Or look at the I’ll Melt w/ Two, with two smash burger patties, mushroom, caramelized onion and a top-secret sauce.
Sellers’ favorite is the Sing For Your Meat, with roast beef, caramelized onion, peppers and horsey cream.
Clearly, these aren’t your average grilled cheese sandwiches. Plus, every order comes with chips! Annika’s also has tomato soup, a soup of the day, salads, and giant oatmeal crème pies.
The restaurant is open Thursday through Sunday, 3-9 p.m. Head to Facebook to find out more and place your own order.