Un-Carted Territory

“The Grilled Cheese Grill” / located on SW Alder

By Allie McRaith /// Features Editor, Anya Hall /// Staff Writer, Russ Alton /// Staff Writer

The food at the Grill never fails, but the service always does. The employees are brisk, shutting the glass partition between the cart and the outside world as soon as they can. The food also takes a painstakingly long time considering it is just grilled cheese (which costs a hefty $4.50 for the basic “The Pre-Schooler” or “The Kindergartener,” without any add-ons and not including the $0.50 charge for using a credit card.)

This time around though, it wasn’t JUST grilled cheese: it was “The Cheesus.” I ordered the beef patty sandwiched between two greasy, melty grilled-cheese-sandwich-buns smothered in ketchup, mustard, grilled onions, lettuce, and tomatoes. Despite the fact that I felt distinct chest pains after finishing the meal (pickle and chips included) and did not snag enough napkins, I had no regrets. For $8.50, I essentially ate a burger and two grilled cheeses, so the sour taste from the service was long forgotten. – AM

As someone who worships the standard grilled cheese as nothing short of deity, I have always been intrigued by the “gourmet grilled cheese” trend. And where better to find out what kind of hideous bastardization of an old classic culinary America is so apt to produce than at the food carts of Portland? To no one’s surprise, such a place exists: The Grilled Cheese Grill, originally operating out of a school bus on NE Alberta.  Upon approaching the garish, red food truck (our select team of gastronomy experts chose to go their downtown location), I immediately noticed their slogan [see next review] — yet in what world does one’s childhood taste like my selection, “The Mondor?” Tillamook pepperjack cheese with red peppers, onions, and avocados on whole wheat bread was insulting whatever combination of generic brand consumer goods my mother could whip together before she headed to the strip club during my childhood, thank you very much.  And don’t even get me started on the “Cheesus” monstrosity one of my fellow critics ordered.  To have a concoction such as that associated with the name of Our Lord and Savior is borderline sacrilegious.  Enjoy eating the Devil’s grilled cheese, fellow Portlanders.  I hope you, and the wider culinary community of America, are some day absolved of your sins. – RA

The slogan says it all: “Come by for a taste of your childhood. Unless your childhood sucked, and then we’ll let ya have a taste of ours.” When we arrived to the downtown food cart location, I was instantly impressed by the multitude of adventurous menu options — to my surprise, there’s a lot of stuff that can be piled on to a plain grilled cheese sandwich. I was in a breakfast mood so I went with “The Hunter,” a grilled cheese filled with fried egg, bacon, and ham. Since the sandwich cost me $7, I had high expectations. When my sandwich was finally ready, it came with some kettle chips and a big ol’ pickle, both of which were great. The sandwich, on the other hand, was less than spectacular. If it had been a few dollars less, I would have no complaints. But honestly it was the most basic egg sandwich I’ve ever put in my mouth. My expectations were sadly not met. So, if you’re looking for a damn good pickle and some above average kettle chips, I recommend the Grilled Cheese Grill. It’s a bonus if you’re into overpriced grilled cheese sandwiches, because that’s the only way the trip will be worth it for you. – AH


“The Cheesus” in all its glory. As advertised, you won’t need to eat again for two days.

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