June 10, 2011 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
It’s a shame that I discovered Lil Cheezers during one of the hottest spring months on record in Louisville.
Eating hot food in hot weather does not a happy Ashlee make.
Lil Cheezers, a self-described gourmet grilled cheesemobile, is one of a handful of food trucks that have recently sprouted across Louisville. They are restaurants on wheels, like the mature cousin of the ice cream truck. Where there is a crowd, there is a truck. By their mobile nature, food trucks require customers to eat outside, perhaps on a nearby bench, or take the food elsewhere.
I first encountered Lil Cheezers at the Abbey Road on the River festival on Memorial Day. It was a scorcher of a day – the sun bounced off the Ohio River onto the Belvedere like a mirror, and humidity hung in the air like damp laundry. It was the type of day during which no man, woman or child should be without an ice cream cone in their hand.
But my excitement over a truck selling grilled cheese sandwiches, my favorite comfort food, prompted me to abandon the notion of finding a cold treat and buy a piping-hot lunch from Lil Cheezers.
It was hard not to get excited over the variety of cheese and fillings that Lil Cheezers offers on their menu. There are nine types of cheeses, seven different vegetables and nine protein selections (including a vegan burger). The truck takes a dish that can be rather plain and make it more interesting.
Lil Cheezers customers can choose two ways to create a sandwich. A basic grilled cheese with your choice of fromage starts at $6, and you can add your choice of vegetables (50 cents each) and/or protein ($2 each). Like gouda, carmelized onions and ham? How about swiss, tomatoes and turkey? Or pepperjack, sautéed green peppers and pepperoni? The combinations keep going from there.
If you aren’t feeling creative, you can select a sandwich from Lil Cheezers’ specialty grilled cheeses menu for $8. There are only seven sandwiches on this menu, but this is where the food truck pulls out the creativity big guns. I wanted to order the Fancy Pants Grilled Cheese, a concoction of Granny Smith apples, carmelized onions, walnuts and brie, but the truck was fresh out. A classic Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Grilled Cheese also sounded delicious. But the S’more, which is made up of chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker crumbs grilled between two pieces of bread, was too adventurous for me.
I selected one of the heavier options on the menu for my Abbey Road lunch – the Pizza Grilled Cheese with pepperoni, salami, tomatoes and mozzarella. My companion of the day, Fiance Rob, ordered the Caprese Grilled Cheese with mozzarella, tomato, basil and a drizzle of balsamic reduction. We decided to trade sandwich halves so we could each sample each other’s meal.
Now, I was sweating before I even began to eat my Pizza sandwich. It was hard to find a place to eat at the crowded festival, so Rob and I ended up next to a garbage can in a rare sliver of shade.
The sandwich was a good substitute for a real slice of pizza. Two thick slices of wheatberry bread stood in for a pizza crust. The tomato was a less-messy substitute for pizza sauce. But the toppings, or filling in this instance, were just like on something you would order at home. The meat was pretty salty, as it should be. The mozzarella was gooey, thick and stringy, just like a piece of pizza.
Rob’s Caprese was similar to my sandwich, but had the wonderful addition of the balsamic reduction. The sauce put a little extra twang in each bite. What is twang? It’s the little kick of flavor that takes you by surprise mid-bite. Yum.
I sweated profusely as I munched on a the still-hot pepperoni and salami slices and warm hand-cut potato chips that were fried inside the truck and come with each sandwich. Between two different sandwich halves and a mountain of salty, thick potato chips, my stomach was quickly filled with carbs and cheese. I felt as big as a parade float. Next time, I’ll take half a sandwich home for dinner.
I try to stay away from adding any additional bulk in hot weather, as I did with my Lil Cheezers lunch. But the quirky selections and cheap prices were worth all the sweat.
Notes about Lil Cheezers
- Follow Lil Cheezers on Twitter take a peek at the calendar on the business’s website to find out where the truck will be parked.
- Lil Cheezers also caters private events.
- Get to the truck early before they start to run out of some ingredients. You can’t expect a truck to hold restaurant-size quantities of food.
- Pizza Grilled Cheese with chips: $8
- Caprese Grilled Cheese with chips: $8
- One bottle of Rooibee Red Tea: $3
- Tip: $1
- Total: $20
- Total (for each person): $10