Business

Former Microsoft employee now the big cheese

The Ultimate Melt owner Greg Wagner serves up grilled cheese and soup in the Verizon Wireless parking lot in Bellevue on Friday, March 21.  - Brandon Macz
The Ultimate Melt owner Greg Wagner serves up grilled cheese and soup in the Verizon Wireless parking lot in Bellevue on Friday, March 21.
— image credit: Brandon Macz

Greg Wagner spent the better part of a year making his dream of owning a food truck a reality, and now the former Microsoft employee is oozing with enthusiasm and cheese as The Ultimate Melt makes its rounds in Bellevue.

"I left as a happy employee," said Wagner, who spent a decade in sales at Microsoft, "but I was definitely ready to do something different."

Wagner spent years thinking about owning either a bar or restaurant, but decided on running a food truck after he noticed their increasing presence in Seattle and the Eastside. He spent time shadowing and talking business with food truck operators to get a feel for what to expect with his new venture. He also got insight into the market during last April's Grilled Cheese Invitational in Los Angeles.

He hired on Bob Carroll as his cook. Carroll has more than 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry, including cooking for Black Angus, Hungry Hunter, Olive Garden and catering companies. Together, they came up with a number of grilled cheese combos.

"We both gained weight," said Carroll about testing recipes as he cooked inside The Ultimate Melt during a lunch rush in the Verizon Wireless parking lot in Eastgate.

"It is really the combinations and the variety you can put together," Wagner said of his menu. Last week's top seller was the We Brie Jammin', which is double crème brie, homemade fig aioli, thick-sliced bacon, granny smith apple and homemade cayenne/candied pecans on a ciabatta roll.

The Ultimate Melt has nine sandwiches on its menu, but rotates out three for variety along its ever-expanding Eastside route. To see the menu, locations and times, go to theultimatemelt.com, and follow @theultimatemelt on Twitter.

 

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