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Don’s grilled cheese voted best in state

The grilled cheese sandwich at Don's Cafe in Morris was voted “Best of Minnesota” as part of WCCO’s Viewers’ Choice awards.

MORRIS – When you’ve got something good in your community, it’s easy to forget it’s there.

That might be the case with the grilled cheese sandwich at Don’s Cafe in Morris.

Since the sandwich was voted “Best of Minnesota” as part of WCCO’s Viewers’ Choice awards last week, sales of the grilled cheese sandwich have tripled, said owner Marsha Buss.

“We’ve had people who hadn’t been here for awhile, either forgot what it tastes like to weren’t prone to ordering it that I think have decided to come in and try it,” said Buss.

“It’s gotten a little busier,” concurred Marsha’s son, Michael.

Marsha said she learned about the voting last Monday morning, but didn’t think anything of it until WCCO’s Matt Brickman gave her a call on Tuesday afternoon. By that time, Don’s was so far ahead in the viewer poll the restaurant was the clear winner.

Brickman and a cameraman arrived in Morris on Thursday around lunch time to talk with patrons and learn the secret of Don’s famous grilled cheese.

Marsha said the secret to the sandwich is the restaurant’s grill, which has been used to cook everything from bacon to burgers to grilled cheese for the last 30 years.

Michael said the secret is the bread. Marsha and her husband, Greg, bought the recipe for Don’s bread – a key ingredient in the grilled cheese sandwich – when they purchased the restaurant 14 years ago. Greg arrives at Don’s every morning at about 3:15 a.m. to make the 24 fresh loaves of bread each day.

Since demand for the grilled cheese has been up, Greg has sometimes had to come in during the afternoon to make a few extra loaves of bread.

“It’s a sandwich that’s been made the same way ever since we bought the place, and it was done that way before,” said Marsha. One recent change is an additional slice of American cheese. Patrons also make their own customizations, adding tomato or bacon or chicken or a hamburger. Some people request cheddar cheese, others add fried onions.

“People get in a groove, especially the college students,” said Marsha.