Geoff Moorhead ’90: Say “Cheese”
After their practices, workouts, and competitions, the athletes giving their all on the playing surfaces of the Boston Sports Institute in Wellesley, Massachusetts, seek out Geoff Moorhead ’90 for a “legit” grilled cheese.
(Their words, not his.)
Moorhead is the owner and operator of the Cheesy Street Grill inside the mammoth complex, which is 130,000 square feet and features two NHL-sized hockey and skating rinks, a pair of indoor pools, a turf field, courts for basketball and other sports, and a large indoor walking track, along with doctors’ offices and physical-therapy and rehabilitation clinics.
It’s also home to Moorhead’s operation, which is the only concessionaire in the complex and one of four Cheesy Street Grill franchise locations. The restaurant concept began as a Connecticut-based food truck in 2014, and has expanded into a go-to spot for post-workout or between-hockey-game comfort food.
“We’re in a unique kind of place—we’re really fortunate to have this kind of facility here,” says Moorhead, a former Peace Corps volunteer who later taught and coached squash at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia, and worked in finance before making his first foray into the restaurant business. “Usually these kinds of places have concession stands, but we are lucky to be the food option here.”
Moorhead grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, and never forgot that Mercersburg was a great experience for him—“a life-changing experience,” he says—but was reminded all over again when going through some papers following his mother’s passing a couple years ago. She had kept a comment report from Moorhead’s adviser, French teacher Stephen Wildfeuer, which her son stumbled upon.
“He really took an interest in seeing me grow, as did all the teachers and the folks on my floor in the dorm,” Moorhead says. “I probably didn’t bring the best study habits to Mercersburg at first, but the school put me on the right course and helped me adjust.” Moorhead captained the squash team his senior year for head coach Bo Burbank P ’76, ’80, ’81, ’83, ’89, ’95. “What a cool guy and a great coach,” Moorhead says of Burbank, who chaired the mathematics and arts departments during his almost-35-year Mercersburg career in addition to his legendary work with the school’s squash teams. (Burbank passed away in January as this magazine was being produced.)
After earning a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Denison University (and studying abroad for a year in Spain), Moorhead found himself working on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, and described himself as “a little restless.” He had a couple of friends who had served in the Peace Corps, which is how he ended up in Bolivia for two years with the organization.
“It was all these wonderful experiences,” Moorhead says. “I didn’t just get to visit and travel as a tourist would, but I truly got to live in a place that was so much different from Mercersburg or any other place I’d ever experienced. I was really able to learn and understand the culture and become part of the community there.”
That led to a master’s language program at Middlebury College and the teaching and coaching position at Episcopal (a fellow Mid-Atlantic boarding school, like Mercersburg). He took students from the school to Spain every summer and, over the course of a couple of summers, completed a master’s from the University of Salamanca.
Fast forward a few years; Moorhead’s wife, Cristina, is a successful doctor, and he sees an opportunity to move from his position with Fidelity Investments into a position where he can run a restaurant and also get to spend more time with the couple’s two daughters (who are now age 5 and 10). It was a leap of faith, especially when the COVID-19 pandemic hit just months after the restaurant’s 2019 opening.
“You could never plan for that,” he says of the pandemic. “But we’ve been able to come back, and I’ve been very fortunate to have a great group of high-school kids that work for me at the restaurant. We’re open every day but Tuesday.”
So next time you happen to be in New England and fancy some classic comfort food between two slices of bread (or no bread at all—the restaurant sells mac and cheese, soups, salads, and smoothies too), consider Moorhead’s Cheesy Street Grill.
“You can make some really interesting grilled cheeses,” he says.