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Grilled Cheese Grill

1027 NE Alberta Street, Portland, OR - (503) 206-8959
Posted By Chris & Amy Ayers on 7/17/2009 9:46:00 PM
Portland, Oregon is a city whose restaurants cater to hardcore foodies, specifically those who actively seek out all things out of the ordinary yet fundamentally delicious. A tremendous amount of small indie eateries thrives on the city’s vibe of liberal devotion to culinary excellence. Much like the rise of the Peanut Butter & Co. in New York, the Grilled Cheese Grill does their eponymous item extremely well, operating with maximum panache.

Four dollars net you one of three classics combinations: The Kindergartner (American or cheddar cheese on white or wheat), the Pre-Schooler (same as the Kindergartner but with the crusts cut off), or the First Grader (both cheeses between one slice of white bread and one slice of wheat). Vegetable add-ins like tomato, pickles, avocado, potato chips, mushrooms, etc. are fifty cents extra, and select meats like salami, turkey, bacon, or a fried egg cost a bit more. The Grill offers preset combos like the Gabby (cheddar, Swiss, Colby jack, and mozzarella on white), the BABS (bacon, apple, bleu cheese, Swiss on rye), the Southsider (artichokes, sundried tomato, mushrooms, mozzarella on sourdough), and the verging-on-Frito-pie Jalapeño Popper (roasted jalapeños, Colby, cream cheese, corn chips on white). The sweets category, on the other hand, is well-covered by the Mrs. B (Brie on grilled cinnamon swirl bread, with applesauce for dipping), the amazing Jaime (marscapone, Nutella, sautéed banana on grilled cinnamon swirl), and the familiar Elvis (grilled banana and peanut butter on white).

These fabulous sandwiches, however, take a backseat to the regal Cheesus Burger. It is one thing that the Grill puts a one-third-pound hamburger in between two grilled cheese sandwiches, which stand in for the traditional bun. But the Grill doesn’t stop there: the top grilled cheese features American and pickles, while the bottom sports Colby and grilled onions. Ketchup, mustard, lettuce, and tomato come standard, as the burger is transformed into a two-handed (but not unwieldy) meal. The two cheeses remain separate and savory on the palate, and the subsequent textural crunch is absolutely divine. Aside from picnic tables, a converted school bus serves as the covered dining room, and a bewitching full-length mural adorns the inside roof. Each table’s surface is emblazoned with old yearbook photos, and boxes of ’80s trivia cards are fun to flip while your order is grilling.

Some purists might dismiss this as ‘niche Roadfood,’ but when an American classic is presented so incredibly well—plus you can eat in a school bus—one can’t help but admit the brilliance of this idea. Tomato soup, chocolate chip cookies and milk, and even Capri Sun pouch drinks are available for the retro-faithful, and any sandwich can be made with gluten-free bread or vegan cheese to celebrate the city’s organic spirit. The already-quirky Portland has become even more unique with the Grilled Cheese Grill, a place that combines nouveau with nostalgia while delighting children of all ages.

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Scorecard

4 - Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Pre-Schooler
Cheesus Burger
Jaime
Capri Sun
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

The Cheesus Burger replaces the top and bottom buns with whole grilled cheese sandwiches, a brilliant and delicious concept.
"The Cheesus Burger replaces the top and bottom buns with whole grilled cheese sandwiches, a brilliant and delicious concept."
Chris & Amy Ayers





What goes better with a grilled cheese than tomato soup?
"What goes better with a grilled cheese than tomato soup?"
Cliff Strutz


For those pining to be five years old again, the Pre-Schooler is a perfect grilled cheese with the crusts cut off.
"For those pining to be five years old again, the Pre-Schooler is a perfect grilled cheese with the crusts cut off."
Chris & Amy Ayers


The Jaime rules the dessert category with mascarpone, Nutella, and sautéed banana on grilled cinnamon swirl bread.
"The Jaime rules the dessert category with mascarpone, Nutella, and sautéed banana on grilled cinnamon swirl bread."
Chris & Amy Ayers


The Gabby features four different kinds of cheese: Tillamook cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, and Colby Jack. You can add bacon for an extra couple of dollars.
"The Gabby features four different kinds of cheese: Tillamook cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, and Colby Jack. You can add bacon for an extra couple of dollars."
Cliff Strutz


Capri Sun is also available for those retro-lunchbox completists to enjoy with their grilled cheese.
"Capri Sun is also available for those retro-lunchbox completists to enjoy with their grilled cheese."
Chris & Amy Ayers


Old yearbook photos are printed on every table inside the school bus dining room.
"Old yearbook photos are printed on every table inside the school bus dining room."
Chris & Amy Ayers


The '80s edition of Trivial Pursuit is on every table for quizzing friends while orders are prepared.
"The '80s edition of Trivial Pursuit is on every table for quizzing friends while orders are prepared."
Chris & Amy Ayers


This whacked-out mural, featuring stylized Pac-Man ghosts, was painted on the ceiling of the school bus by local artists.
"This whacked-out mural, featuring stylized Pac-Man ghosts, was painted on the ceiling of the school bus by local artists."
Chris & Amy Ayers


The Grilled Cheese Grill aims to please kids young and old, whether dining on the picnic tables or in the school bus.
"The Grilled Cheese Grill aims to please kids young and old, whether dining on the picnic tables or in the school bus."
Chris & Amy Ayers



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