Over the years, Seattle has given us a number of famous experiences. From one of Seattle’s most famous native sons came the notoriously brief Jimi Hendrix Experience, responsible for some of the greatest rock albums of all time. From Paul Allen and architect Frank Gehry comes the distinctive yet controversial Experience Music Project at Seattle Center (which, unsurprisingly, contains an extensive permanent exhibit on Jimi Hendrix.) And now, by way of the alley behind Lake Union Wholesale Florist at Harrison and Boren, we get the Grilled Cheese Experience.
- Food Truck: The Grilled Cheese Experience
- Cuisine: Grilled Cheese
- Website: http://thegrilledcheeseexperience.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Grilled-Cheese-Experience/
- Twitter: @wheelsofcheesxp
- Yelp: 3.5 stars, 2 reviews
- Location: In the alley between Harrison and Boren, behind South Lake Union Wholesale Florist
- Days: Thursdays (may vary)
- Payment Methods: Cash only
- Sales Tax included in menu prices: Yes
- Classic Grilled Cheese, with bacon added: $8.00
- Total (with tip:) $9.00
- Time to order and pay: About 1 minute
- Time to receive food after ordering: 6 minutes
There are quite a things one might think of when they think of grilled cheese, but the chances are good that an experience isn’t one of them. Sure it’s a simple, easy-to-make meal that probably earns a place in the top 10 list of things that a penurious dorm-bound college freshman eats for dinner, but at the same time it can be exactly the type of thing that hits the spot when you’re really hungry. Even so, most people tend to eat grilled cheese sandwiches, not experience them. It seems that The Grilled Cheese Experience, a relative newcomer to the neighborhood, is out to change that.
In addition to the standard-issue grilled cheese sandwich, this truck offers several deluxe models, as well as a Reuben sandwich, and various specials that presumably change from day to day. Wanting to keep it simple, I opted for the classic version, but I also decided to spring for the two bucks to add bacon, bringing the cost to $8. Service was friendly and food was received in a reasonable amount of time (I probably would have waited longer if I had gotten there a few minutes later though, as the line started to grow after I ordered.) Given the fact that a grilled cheese sandwich tends usually to be one of the cheaper items on any given menu, it’s a little surprising that this one starts out at $6 and goes up from there. Granted, when compared with the pricing at some of the other food trucks out there that’s pretty good (don’t even get me started on some of the overpriced hipster bait trucks out there charging $13 for a burger and fries), but especially when you start wandering away from the basics, things start getting expensive in a hurry. And although the sandwich I received was quite good, it wasn’t very big. By itself, you’d be hard pressed to make a full meal out of this. If you’re looking to not end up hungry at 2pm, you could add either tomato soup or mac and cheese for $3 each, but I didn’t get the chance to try out either of those on this trip. And by the time you start adding things, you could easily be getting dangeously close to $15. On the other hand, it appears that the special does get served with soup.
The main problem with this truck is that even in the culinary wasteland (relatively speaking) that is South Lake Union’s fixed-location restaurant scene, there are several places that make a more than adequate grilled cheese sandwich. Although I have yet to try the one at Blue Moon Burgers (if I’m going to spend the time and calories on a visit to Blue Moon I’m going for a proper burger), the Great Northwest Soup Co. makes a pretty good grilled cheese, which can be had with a cup of a number of different soup choices for $7 and change, and adds a full menu of various Paninis on top of that. Although I can see supporting the little guy here, I still have a hard time justifying spending that much money on something as simple as a grilled cheese sandwich. In spite of this, I do think I will have to give this place another try to see how the tomato soup or the Mac and Cheese is. I don’t think anyone around the neighborhood has really figured that one out yet…