The Grilled Cheese Grill

grilled cheese food cart portland

The Grilled Cheese Grill

Location: NE 11th and Alberta


The grilled cheese sandwich is as American as apple pie and everyone you know has eaten one in their lifetime.  When I was a poor post-college student, I survived on grilled cheese and top ramen.  I think we even put pre-cooked ramen noodles in a toasted cheese, but I digress.  Portland has a new food cart – the Grilled Cheese Grill.

grilled cheese food cart portland

The Kindergartner

On a corner lot up off NE Alberta, The Grilled Cheese Grill setup shop with picnic tables, an old school bus and an airstream for their kitchen.  They do a traditional grilled cheese like mama use to make called the Kindergartner.  You get to choose your bread and whether you want American or Cheddar cheese.  A perfect grilled cheese.

If you want to mix it up a bit though, they have 15 other versions of the grilled cheese for your to choose from.  With ingredients including apple, bacon, jalapeno, artichoke, turkey, hummus, and numerous choices for cheese, you will find a favorite.  I opted for the Babs, with apple, bacon, blue cheese and swiss on rye bread. Such a great sandwich.

grilled cheese food cart portland

The Babs from The Grilled Cheese Grill

The Grilled Cheese Grill is a great place and they do the sandwich justice.  I’m looking forward to visiting more as we get out and about as the weather warms up.

Sample Menu (see website for updated menu and prices):

  • The Kindergartner – the classic, however you like it
  • The Pre-schooler – same as the Kindergartner but with crusts cut off
  • The Gabby – cheddar, colby jack, swiss, mozzarella on while
  • The Southsider – artichokes, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, mozzarella on grilled sourdough
  • The Moondog – provolone, salami, pepperoni, olive and pepper tapenade on grilled sourdough
  • The Babs – bacon, apple, blue cheese, swiss on rye
  • additions:  tomato, avocado, pickles, onions, sauerkraut, etc – 50c; bacon, turkey, salami, egg, etc
  • Gluten Free options

Phone: 503 206 8959
Twitter: The Grilled Cheese Grill
Hours: Tues-Thurs: 11:30-9; Friday, Saturday: 11:30-late; Sunday: 11:30-8; closed Mondays.


  1. The Southsider and Jalapeno Popper sandwiches are amazing as well!

  2. Got any photos of their “Cheesus Burger”?

    “We’ve done away with the bun and replaced it with two
    grilled cheese sandwiches. That’s right, two of
    them. One on top, another on the bottom.
    Pickles and American Cheese inside one, Grilled
    Onion and Colby Jack in the other. Lettuce,
    Tomato, Ketchup, Mustard, and 1/3lb Burger in
    between. You won’t need to eat again for 2 days.
    Comes with a bag of chips and napkins.”

    Jesus Christ!

  3. The Cheesus sounds a bit like the Icanhascheeseburger at Brunch Box (on 5th and Stark downtown). Just sayin’…

  4. dieselboi says

    Dave, Tim, I do see the similarities. That could be a good thing. I think we need an over the top cheeseburgersandwich in every neighborhood, on every corner and in every household.

    i’m just sayin’

  5. I call Grilled Cheese Burger Throwdown! Meet me at midnight under the tree by that road!

  6. It’s an opensource kind of burger! Microsoft vs. Linux. Just sayin’

    Or it could turn into a burger-off! Who has the best grilled cheese sandwich burger? Bring it on!

  7. *sigh* Thanks Tim, Hi dieselboi, Hi CBF;
    This is a very specific type of burger presumably not seen for sale in Portland until BrunchBox introduced it. I’m sentimentally attached to this burger.
    Honesty for you? I’m bothered that somebody like Dave might see this on their menu and go “How original! What a great idea “Grilled Cheese Grill” has had. So glad they brought this to Portland”. BrunchBox “did away with the bun” before GCG ever opened.
    Given the specific nature of their cart and their distance from ours, I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and only ask that they not claim to be the originators.
    If we approached carts as restaurants it would be inappropriate for GCG to introduce this burger without researching first. This could have been avoided by a simple courtesy call on their part saying, “Hey, Head’s up, we’d like to do this burger that’s incredibly similar to yours. We did/did not get this idea from your menu”.
    An unannounced facsimile of BrunchBox’s signature sandwich is a legitimate issue. Not a petty one or a friendly challenge. Dammit.
    I haven’t tried theirs but will say that ours is on lovely local thick-cut TX toast. Comes with lettuce, grilled onion, tomato, any condiments, and we’ll add pickles for free if you’d like. Our burger is 100% Black Angus, hand-pressed and cooked to order. Kettle-cooked chips available.
    Our “YouCANhascheeseburger!” is $5. Take all the free napkins you want. Grab a $0.50 soda to wash it down.
    And a grilled cheese sandwich, your choice of cheese, on TX toast? We charge $1.50. If you’re feeling whimsical, we’ll cut it into dinosaur shapes for free.

  8. Hi. I’m going to jump in here and respond because I see a lot of resentment brewing here that really shouldn’t be….

    The guy that owns the Grilled Cheese Grill is just about the nicest person you’ll ever meet. He is also exceedingly honest and genuine and I know there was *nothing* intentional about the similarities in these sandwiches. That just isn’t his style. I remember when he first came up with the Cheeseus. He was so excited and I received an email and photo from his kitchen about it. This is one person who definitely deserves the benefit of the doubt in this case, so I’m glad you’re giving it to him.

    I’m sure you remember what an incredibly challenging endeavor it was to get your cart up and running…all of the thought and planning and logistics that had to go into it. It’s been a whirlwind of excitement for a dream fulfilled this past year, not a opportunity to rip someone else off. I hope you’ll take a moment to stop in and say hi to him someday. I think you’ll find a good guy, and maybe a good friend, just excited to be doing something he truly loves.

    And NOW…I have to tell you…**I** emailed him (from the east coast no less) to give him the *IDEA* of using a giant cookie cutter to cut his “Pre-Schooler” sandwich (grilled cheese without the crust!) into DINOSAUR or Butterfly **shapes** for little kids! Since I am in Raleigh, NC, I can assure you I didn’t see that at the Brunchbox cart! I will admit to seeing it on Martha Stewart…as I have two young kids and this is how I cut their lunch sandwiches everyday.

    I don’t know if the Grilled Cheese Grill is going to use that idea….but if they do…I can promise you…he got the idea from ME and he’s not stealing that one either. : )

  9. sweet b to the e says

    A) Hundredth Monkey Effect, anyone?

    Hartford, CT: “Fatty Melt,” an 8-ounce burger served between two grilled cheeses and topped with house-cured bacon.,0,2599867.story

    Atlanta, GA: The Double Coronary Burger is a half pound sirloin burger topped with 2 fried eggs, 4 slices of american cheese, 5 slices of bacon and 2 grilled cheese sandwiches replacing the buns.

    Fisgherville, VA: “Chubby Melt” at the Mossy Creek Cafe in Fisherville, Virginia (burger between two grilled cheese sandwiches, smothered with sautéed onions and mushrooms and topped with Thousand Island dressing

    Even Applebee’s has a wannabe…

    B) biz owners with negative attitudes are a definite turn-off. Just sayin’…

  10. Hi Everyone,

    Cuisine Bonne Femme here. You know, the owner and editor of this here little website Food Carts Portland.

    Anyhoo, while I love a little Bad News Bears, Meatballs, and Summer Camp rivalry, I would like everyone to Ixnay on the who-stole-what-from whom say.

    The food cart community is a strong one – incredibly positive and supportive of one another. In addition, I started this site as a place to share the love and joy of this super cool thing we have going in Portland – not to dis’ the carts. There are enough food sites out there that deal with that sort of stuff. I think it is especially important to support small local, and independently owned businesses as much as possible. Surely there’s room for at least two variations of the grilled cheese burger in PDX?

    Of course it’s a free world (in theory), so everyone is welcome to their opinions, but there’s really no need to turn this into a pissing match over, um, a grilled cheese sandwich. So all I’m asking is, let’s move on…

    As someone once said, “there are no original ideas, just original people.” Or, as one of my favorite filmmakers (Jim Jarmusch put it):

    Jean-Luc Godard (from the Jarmusch quote above) got it right when he said, “It’s not where you take things, it’s where you take them to.” I want more grilled cheese burgers!

    This is the revolution of open source.

    Here’s my theory: There are two ways of looking at the world. One is to look at the world as a pie with only a certain number of pieces to fight over who gets what amount. Or, you can, like I do – just get together with more people and make more pie.

    Peace and love and grilled cheese for all, oh and sweet delicious pie of course.

    Thanks for reading and thanks for supporting Portland’s cart community.


  11. CBF ~ Beautifully stated! I am with you…no scarcity thinking! I had wanted to say that there is plenty to go around and room enough in this world for *everyone*, but I didn’t want to sound, well…too *cheesy*. : D

    Coming from Raleigh, NC – Home to more 1 star restaurants than anywhere else in the world, deep sigh – I am totally envious of your PDX and the amazing food you get to choose from everyday! I wish we had just *one* grilled cheese burger available to us here. In the meantime, I can only hope my next trip to Portland is sooner than later!

  12. Just saying – I have they have vegan options that are great, though the FYH cheeze doesn’t melt (or they haven’t gotten it to, yet).

  13. er, hear*** they have.

  14. The irony bristles.

    “I’m sentimentally attached [to the “I Can Has Cheeseburger”]”

    …especially the day I stole the name from Caturday internet macros. I wonder if anyone called to say…

    “hey- just a head’s up I’m naming my signature cheeseburger after your submitters memes”

    Next week I’ll be opening my “Cliche’ Kitty” disco and signature Flying Spaghetti Monster brewpub.

  15. BrunchBox says

    Red, we never accused him of “stealing” it. I’m sure he is nice–so are we. We don’t just run around complaining about everyone copying everything.

    Sweet to the B, we’d like to make it clear that we’ve never claimed that we invented the burger. There’s also a double version in Richmond, VA missing from your list. I only stated first in Portland, and we do not have a bad attitude at all. And we don’t bad-mouth. We stated a conversation-relevant, carefully-worded legitimate concern and shouldn’t be vilified for it. Most every review of us commends the friendly owners.–the friendly, light-hearted, much-experience-as-restaurant-managers owners.

    We agree that this is out of hand. The owner of GCG asked us to amend our comment and state that he’s had the burger in the works long before he opened.

    We also agree with everybody that there is room for more than one in town and never asked that he change it or stop serving it.

  16. Ok, let’s all move on now…
    Closing comments for now…

  17. dieselboi says

    Thanks everyone for the comments and the conversation. Much appreciated. I look forward to eating everyone’s vittles.

  18. Looks more like a full on restaurant to me. no not a cart at all.

  19. Just in: I don’t know if you guys have seen this yet – BUT there appears to be multiple carts that sell *gasp!* Tacos!

    And the poor poor guy who invented the Hot Dog must be turning in his grave as well! They are EVERYWHERE!

  20. Thx, this has definitely made my day!


  21. This place rocks: gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches…whodathunkit…but they’re really good and at 5 bucks a shot or so, well worth a stop by. And the schoolbus is really cool too, magnificent ceiling art.

  22. I love GCG but I find it a smidge pricey for what you get. Most of the good non-kiddie sandwiches are five and change or more and while they are killer as far as grilled cheese goes, they ain’t that big. And adding meat in most cases is $1.75 which bumps the price up to 7 or 8 bucks. Not including chips and a drink, which cost a few bucks more and I like to tip, too. sooo 8 or 9 bucks now, for a grilled cheese? I just feel like if I’m gonna drop that amount I’d rather get a whole pizza from pyro or go to a thai place that’ll give me three times the amount of actual food for the same price.

    And not to resurrect the whole debate above, I don’t care who had it first, but just as a consumer comparison, Brunch Box charges five flat for an equally good, essentially double grilled cheese with a burger inside it, with toppings, not on regular-sized bread but on colossal sized texas toast.

    I’m stoked GCG is in southeast now but would love it if they’d try to simply feed you a bit more for the price, as many other food carts around town do where you are totally good if you’ve got a fiver on you and won’t leave hungry.


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