It's a new year for food trucks in the Valley, and the mobile kitchen's scene newest (and cheesiest) entry comes straight from the City of Angels.
Since 2009, The Grilled Cheese Truck has been roaming the streets of L.A., serving up grilled cheese sandwiches, natch, along with soup and tater tots. It's been staggeringly popular since launching and it's won numerous awards, so this year, owner and founder Dave Danhi, a chef for years in some of L.A.'s most notable restaurants, decided the time was right to expand. And Phoenix is the first stop on his list.
"There's something about the people in Phoenix that makes the city a snapshot of America," Danhi tells me, explaining why Phoenix was his first city of choice for expansion. "Plus, it's close enough to L.A. that I can manage the business. And the hot summers make it a good test market for my online ordering system."
At a recent First Friday, Danhi tells me, he tasted some great street eats in the form of fry bread and goodies from Old Dixie's Southern Kitchen. One thing Danhi has not been excited about are the city's regulations regarding food trucks. "More extreme" than they are in L.A., many seem outdated, and Danhi says he'd like to work with the city on improving them.
Making everything from scratch and using quality ingredients, The Grilled Cheese truck offers "plain" grilled cheese sandwiches, and customers can choose from cheeses such as sharp cheddar, double cream Brie, or sundried tomato and basil goat cheese on French or wheat bread; signature creations such as the French Onion Soup Melt made with Gruyere, onion soup confit, a Parmesan crust and served with onion soup broth; and sweet creations like the decadent S'more Melt.
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But the sandwich everyone should try, Danhi tells me, is what started his business in the first place: The Cheesy Mac and Rib. It features macaroni and cheese, pulled barbecue pork, caramelized onions, and Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese grilled between slices of dense buttermilk bread.
Two weeks ago, The Grilled Cheese Truck company went public, and Danhi tells me he plans to expand to 100 trucks in various cities over the next 14 to 16 months.
You can catch the premiere of The Grilled Cheese Truck in Phoenix this weekend at the Street Eats Food Truck Festival at Salt River Fields. For a schedule of upcoming Valley gigs, follow The Grilled Cheese Truck on its Facebook page or go to the company's website.