WALLINGFORD — First it was the Caseus Cheese Truck, which has become a fixture at events throughout the state during the year. When you referred to The Cheese Truck, everyone knew what it was and what it sold — grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup and other treats. Now known as the Crispy Melty food truck, it's still serving its signature grilled cheese creations.
With the success of the food truck, the logical next step for partners Chris McMahon, Jason Sobocinski and his brother Tom Sobocinski was to open a brick-and-mortar store, and for their first location, they chose Wallingford.
"Wallingford is a great town," McMahon said Tuesday. "The commerce here is fantastic. We love the aesthetics of the town. It's close to a lot of the major highways and it's just been kind of our New Haven County footprint. It's always worked well for us."
Jason Sobocinski owned Caseus Fromagerie & Bistro at the corner of Trumbull Street and Whitney Avenue in New Haven for many years, closing in 2018, but now, with his partners, is opening Caseus Provisions.
"As our truck continues to travel around the state and delight cheese lovers, our team was inspired to set up a permanent shop offering our beloved sandwiches, as well as meats and cheeses we feature in our sandwiches," Jason Sobocinski said in a statement Tuesday.
Items for sale will include products from the Mystic Cheese Company, Cato Corner Farms, Arethusa Farms and European cheese and provisions.
"This is our first venture back into the retail space," McMahon said. "Jason owned Caseus in New Haven for many, many years but for Caseus Provisions, this is our first venture into the retail side."
The site at 619 Center St. was previously Brunetti's Luncheonette, a town landmark for 60 years before it closed at the start of the pandemic in 2020. Because it was a restaurant, renovating it for the specialty cheese shop and "grilled cheese quick service restaurant" was not difficult, McMahon said.
"Because it was a pre-existing restaurant, we didn't have to change anything there," McMahon said.
The store will open Saturday, April 1 and will be open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"We are going to open up on April 1, hopefully to a bunch of fanfare," McMahon said. On Wednesday, April 12, National Grilled Cheese Day, they will be giving away grilled cheese sandwiches to the first 100 customers.
There may be more locations in the future, McMahon said.
"We are going to get this one off and running first and foremost," he said, "and then we'll always weigh out our options."