This Saturday, the Grilled Cheese Truck opened its first brick-and-mortar location in the streets of Isla Vista. Located on Embarcadero Del Norte where Santa Ynez Burrito once stood, the restaurant offers its cheesy, gooey concoctions to the hungry stomachs of UCSB students.
Having tried the Grilled Cheese Truck back when it first came to campus during a food truck fair, I was excited to see what the restaurant had to offer in the form of a now-permanent location. Unable to make it out for the grand opening due to a rather unfortunate third case of the flu, I braved the light rain Monday afternoon for a taste of the classic American staple.
Upon arriving, the restaurant proved inviting, the closed-off patio and outdoor heaters a welcome relief from the dreary weather. I paused to take a look around before making my way inside the brightly-lit establishment.
I took my time to order, stopping behind a group of girls to consider the menu. Simple enough, they offered “plain and simple melts,” pre-prepared “signature melts” and a “build your own melt” with the option to choose your own bread and sweet and/or savory additions, such as smoked pork or Nutella. Additionally, the menu offers the option to add macaroni and cheese, tomato soup, celery coleslaw or homemade bread and butter pickles as a side. I decided to really go for it with the buffalo chicken melt and a side order of tater tots, the sandwich consisting of spicy roasted buffalo chicken, habanero jack cheese, blue cheese and celery coleslaw.
The dish delivered great flavor, the ingredients working well together to balance each other out. The celery coleslaw worked to both counteract the heat of the buffalo chicken while adding a nice freshness to an otherwise heavy sandwich. The tater tots proved an excellent addition, perfectly hot and crispy. I made my way through the grilled cheese in no time, my stomach content by the end.
The Grilled Cheese Truck delivered in flavor, no doubt about it, but it fell a bit short in price, in my opinion. Starting at $3 for the basic American cheese melt, my meal amounted to a total of $12. While within the price range of its surrounding restaurants, it was a bit difficult for me to justify the price for a grilled cheese, even one as packed with flavor as this one.
Regardless, it definitely seems like the Grilled Cheese Truck Stop has a real chance of making a name for itself in Isla Vista, as its weekday midnight and 2 a.m. weekend closing times cater to a typical college student’s needs. Who knows, maybe it has what it takes to break the location’s bad-luck streak.