Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich Maker Who Also Plays Bass - 2003
Johnny Safety at "the smallest show in town"
There's not much to a grilled cheese: A couple of pieces of bread and a slice of cheese are all it takes. But making a good one -- that's another deal altogether. You don't want the cheese too thick, or not cooked enough, or too cooked, and the bread can't be burnt or overly greasy. Really, making the perfect grilled cheese is a lot harder than it looks, kind of like driving a semi while blindfolded. Luckily, the Bay Area is home to one of the finest grilled cheese craftsmen in the country: Johnny Safety, aka Granfaloon Bus bassist Jeff Stevenson. Safety started his grill career several years ago, when he noticed that the Latin American Club had a small stove-top that was never utilized. He donned a hat, picked up a spatula, and grabbed some butter, and the rest is history. Last year, he moved his "kitchen" to the Hemlock Tavern for the musical roundelay known as "the smallest show in town" (held the first Tuesday of every month). As the Lipsey Mountain Spring Band, Sonny Smith, Joe Rut, and other local singer/songwriter types ply their tunes, Safety fries his white-bread and American-cheese delicacies, garnishing them with a dill pickle (and the occasional dirt specks if he accidentally flips one onto the floor). Maybe it's the down-home atmosphere or Safety's satisfaction-guaranteed grin, but those grilled cheeses go down nice and easy, like smooth whiskey on a summer's night.