He looks sort of distracted because he is. Customers were jamming through the door of the restaurant, and I'm pretty sure he hoped I would hurry up with this photo. He was nice though...and anyway...the sandwich.
I adore the Kepner Melt for its kooky juxtaposition of textures and flavors. It's got the crunch of walnuts over silky-smooth tofu along with tiny explosions of mustard seed and sweet chunks of pineapple under a melty blanket of Monterey Jack. It's like Jackson Pollock or Kandinsky. Naysayers call it ugly, jarring, or just a big mess. But it's brilliant! And guess what? You didn't think of it.
One of the Tomato Head owners told me the sandwich was created by a former employee named Brian Sherry. On his quest to find a nom de plume for a band booking job, he stumbled upon an old notebook at the library inscribed with "Kepner Tregoe," the cool-sounding name for a perhaps dull (?) consulting firm. Regardless, Brian Sherry became Kepner Tregoe and the Kepner Melt became his fine masterpiece.
Soup of the day: Curried carrot with homemade roll.
I was so excited to be in Knoxville again having my favorite sandwich that I totally dorked out and bought this shirt with the restaurant's slogan.
"Food gotta cook. Don't come out of a can."
The Kepner Melt
1 round roll (preferably homemade)
Whole grain mustard
A couple slices of baked tofu
Herbed tomatoes, chopped into small chunks
Roasted red onion
Monterey Jack cheese, grated
Spread mustard on bottom half of roll. Arrange ingredients (through cheese) to taste on bottom half of roll. Spread top half of roll with pesto. Heat and eat.
Dinner music: I Made a Mess of This Town by Knoxville's own Scott Miller and the Commonwealth