15. Brian Mullins of Ms. Cheezious
As we did during childhood, we run when the baby blue food truck with the bikinied pin-up girl comes rolling through our neighborhoods. Then we breathe hard. Instead of a cone, we adults crave a grilled bacon and blue or a classic grilled cheese-and-tomato soup combo.
To make Ms. Cheezious, Brian Mullins took the most basic and loved sandwich -- the grilled cheese -- and elevated it with quality ingredients and gourmet touches. Ms. Cheezious has won a following and many accolades, including being named best food truck at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival two years in a row, and being crowned "Best Cheesy Food Truck" by Miami New Times.
Now, Mullins is set on expansion, with plans to open his first restaurant with partner M. Christian Dickens in Miami in December. After that, the cheesy invasion continues with shops in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.
The most influential person in my career has been:
My grandmother Stella. She was fantastic in the kitchen and made everything from scratch, but she also took great care of everyone around - a true sense of hospitality. She taught me that if something is worth doing, work hard and make it happen.
When I'm alone and in need of comfort (and no one is there to watch or judge) the one food or drink I turn to is:
Great chicken wings and a cold beer -- it makes the world right again!
What does Miami need more of?
Waterfront dining with decent service. You cannot rely on the view alone; it can't bring me another drink.
You get to vote one food or beverage trend off the island forever -- what is it?
Brussels sprouts. I like them but they're everywhere! Can't we jazz up some other vegetable that we wouldn't eat as kids?
You have unlimited funds to open a restaurant or bar -- what's the name and what do you serve?
Ms Cheezious! We're actually opening our first restaurant at 7418 Biscayne Blvd. in Miami. We'll be serving a bunch of much-loved items from our current menu of grilled cheese sandwiches, as well as adding other drink and food options we haven't served up in the past.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully enjoying the fruits of my hard work and having more time to spend with family and friends.
Dream dinner party for six: Who (living or dead) are you inviting?
This dinner would definitely involve friends and family. My wife Fatima; my mom, who lives in Long Island and I don't see nearly enough; my business partner Christian Dickens, who's not only my best friend but a really funny guy; my grandmother Stella, who I wish was still with us; and it would be hard to pick the last two since I don't get to see my friends as much as I would like to. I'd have to sneak them all in somehow!
New Times' Best of Miami 2013 issue arrives June 13. To celebrate, Short Order is serving up the top 30 tastemakers in the 305. These people have helped shape the Miami food scene into what it is today. We began with number 30 and will lead up to the county's number one. A Q&A session is included in each post.
30. Allegra Angelo
29. Aaron Brooks
28. Danny Serfer
27. Sam Gorenstein
26. Todd Erickson of Haven Gastro-Lounge
25. Keith Kalmanowicz of Earth N' Us Farm
24. Victoria Nodarse and Aimee Ortega of Spice Galore
23. Tom Wilfong and Vanessa Safie of Copperpots
22. Robert Montero of the Cypress Room
21. Frodnesor of Food For Thought
20. Giorgio Rapicavoli of Eating House
19. Matthew Sherman of Jugofresh
18. Peter Schnebly of Schnebly Redland's Winery & Miami Brewing Company
17. Margie Pikarsky of Bee Heaven Farm
16. Muriel Olivares of Little River Market Garden