There are well over 500 food carts in Portland, but when considering food cart meals that are CHEAP, the Grilled Cheese Grill leaps to mind. What is more cheap, tasty and satisfying than a grilled cheese sandwich? Pair it with a cup of tomato soup and you’ve got an All-American Meal. (Sorry, no apple pie. That will have to come from another food cart on another Food Cart Friday.)
My able assistant (my daughter) and I visited the original location of the Grilled Cheese Grill, situated on the northwest corner of NE 11 and Alberta. Next to the actual food cart, where the bread ‘n’ cheese magic happens, is an old-fashioned school bus that has been converted to a sort of luncheonette. Anyway, that’s where you take your soup and sandwich to eat in inclement weather. (On sunny days, you can sit at picnic tables.) The bus is heated, illuminated and decorated all over its ceiling with paintings of colorful, weird and fanciful creatures. A counter runs along one side. On the other side are booths with tables. The tables and the counter are covered with laminated pages from old grade school yearbooks. Kids sure used to be funny looking.
Back to the topic of CHEAP. You can warm your tummy for only $4.50 if you select The Kindergartner, a classic, unadorned grilled cheese sandwich. Choices are white or wheat bread, Tillamook cheddar or American cheese. Like all the sandwich offerings, it’s served with a pickle spear and potato chips. Add a cup of tomato soup for $2.50. The soup contains chopped, sauteed onion and tomato, which makes it a bit more interesting.
No matter which sandwich you choose from the extensive menu, you can dress it up with extras, such as tomato, sauerkraut and mushrooms for an extra 25 cents; avocado and extra cheese for $1, and bacon, ham or turkey for $1.75.
My daughter ordered the Gabby. Priced at $5.75, it’s four cheeses — cheddar, mozzarella, colby jack and swiss — and white bread. I got the Jersey for $6. It’s sauteed mushrooms and swiss cheese on marbled rye bread. Delish!
Grilled Cheese Grill opens at 11:30 a.m. daily. On Friday and Saturday nights, the place offers tummy-warming comfort food to the late-night crowd, staying open until 2:30 a.m. Sometimes the middle of the night is just the right time for a grilled cheese sandwich.
And the good news just keeps on coming: soon this location of Grilled Cheese Grill will have its own restrooms.
I rate this food cart Good and CHEAP.