Food for Thought: Changing the World
Food for Thought: Changing the World In partnership with Vanderbilt University’s Office of Community, Neighborhood, and Government Relations, the Frist Center for
If food trucks are the vehicle driving successful restaurant concepts these days, then Joseph and Crystal Bogan are trusted navigators behind the wheel. The owners of The Grilled Cheeserie—which started peddling elevated, gooey cheese melts from a boxy truck in 2010—opened a brick-and-mortar home in Hillsboro Village this winter. Many have stood in line for the Bogans’ belly-filling creations—now, they’re coming in from the outside.
The fast-casual concept set in the former Sunset Grill space is a charming cross between classic French bistro and nostalgic soda fountain, with a clean black and white color scheme and pops of bright yellow. There’s also penny tile and a long marble counter that makes up the popular Milkshake Bar, plus shelves full of cheesy merchandise. Diners order at the counter and grab a spot at the dining bar, high-top tables, or upscale picnic tables while they wait. It’s a bustling space, with tables clearing just in time to ensure a seat for those in line.
The fact that this kitchen is stationary (the food truck continues to roll) has made a big difference in efficiency, Joseph says. “We are much faster getting food out of the bigger kitchen,” he adds. “In the first couple of weeks, I’ll admit I welled up with tears one time when the kitchen was slammed just seeing the energy of our crew and team members. I appreciate them so much, how they execute our dream.”
That dream begins with quality ingredients and creative recipes.
“We made the decision to pay a little more for our ingredients to be able to source locally whenever possible and from sustainable and ethical suppliers,” he adds.
The menu has expanded with the space. There’s a tight list of dishes culled from old standards and some of the truck’s more popular “Melt of the Moment” specials. Between griddled bread, there’s the pimento mac & chee, which is a generous smear of housemade pimento cheese, local cheddar, and macaroni, plus sliced tomato and Benton’s Bacon bits on country white sourdough bread. The B’s in the B & B stand for buttermilk cheddar and bacon melted onto multigrain bread and topped with a seasonal jam. For something new, try the spinach and artichoke, which employs a creamy swiss-gruyere blend, as well as a concoction of marinated artichokes and housemade organic spinach dip on rosemary garlic bread. Can’t decide? You can also make your own melt from a range of cheese-spread-bread options.
Their drinks menu features products from Crema and craft sodas. Straddling the line between beverages and treats are old-fashioned floats and artisan milkshakes that are hand-dipped using Pied Piper Creamery ice cream. We’re fans of the Cherry Coke float which gets hit with cherries soaked in Belle Meade Bourbon. “The flavor is so Nashville,” Crystal laughs.
To balance the cheesy indulgences, The Grilled Cheeserie also offers soups and salads, like the hyper fresh greens and a creamy old-fashioned tomato soup that is the perfect dunking accompaniment to the sandwiches.
“We’ll still be running the truck side of our business,” Joseph promises. “It will always have a place in our heart after doing it for six years.” Plus, Crystal explains, “Not everybody wants the adventure of having to track down the truck.” Joseph offers one more perk of a stationary location: “We now have a bathroom.”
2003 Belcourt Ave; grilledcheeserie.com