Melting from anticipation: The Cheesy Chick nears launch
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • March 06, 2012 @ 7:30am
Buffalo’s newest addition to the food truck scene is almost ready to satisfy your stomach with high-quality grilled cheese.
The Cheesy Chick, profiled on Buffalo.com in October, is the brainchild of Alexis Andrzejak and will open for service in the third week of March. If her paperwork with the city is finalized by the 16th or the 17th, she’ll open for business then, but she’s firmly on the schedule for Northpointe Commerce Park in Amherst on March 19 and the First Niagara Center downtown on March 20.
“I started seriously thinking about the [food truck] project about a year ago,” Andrzejak said. “It’s surreal now, nerve-wracking because of the hype [she’s promoted the Cheesy Chick on social media since September], but the excitement is really overtaking the nerves. I just want to know what people think of my grilled cheese.”
Andrzejak returned from Florida last Friday after spending two days in Miami to examine the truck she ordered from Susan Leibowitz and Miami Trailer Inc., the same vendor that supplied another Buffalo food truck, the Roaming Buffalo. Andrzejak gushed about the state of the truck during her visit, posting several photos to Facebook in the process.
“The truck’s exterior blew us away,” she remarked, “and the logo looked just like how I wanted it to.” The vehicle has 171,000 miles on it—it’s a stripped down old truck—but it features brand-new kitchen equipment and a giant grill that “should hold at least 15 grilled cheese sandwiches at a time.”
For the exterior of her truck, Andrzejak entered the Cheesy Chick on logotournament.com, a website that challenges graphic designers to create a logo best fitting the company described. There’s a cash prize awarded to the designer whose logo is chosen, and the business benefits from a wide array of choices. She was pleased with the orange color that seemed appropriate for a grilled cheese truck, and the complementary tones of purple and red are her personal favorites colors.
Now, it’s a waiting game, as Andrzejak wired the rest of her payment to Miami and awaits the bill of sale and the title before officially registering the Cheesy Chick. She’s been dutiful in completing her checklist from the City of Buffalo to secure a permit, even though the cost remains $1,000 after the recent legislation.
“I didn’t really have a choice,” Andrzejak said about paying the annual money for the permit. “I thought it was steep, but it had to be done. I’m looking forward to when the [Common Council] revisits the cost in April 2013.”
As for her food, Andrzejak has already posted her menu on the Cheesy Chick website. An original grilled cheese will run for $3.25, she said, with additional non-meat toppings running for $.25 apiece and meat (bacon, ham, turkey) for $1.25 to $1.50 more. Her four specialty sandwiches—including the one I’m most curious about, the ABC (apple, bacon, cheddar)—will cost between $5 and $6.
She plans to buy her sliced cheeses from restaurant resources like BJ’s and Restaurant Depot, but she’s buying local for her specialty cheeses. Andrzejak noted that she had a good relationship with Michelle Stevens from Buffalo Cheese Traders LLC, who’s also provided wise advice for melting cheeses and how to pair them with other toppings in addition to selling a mean gruyere.
From my phone chat with her, it was clear that Andrzejak was particularly excited about her daily specials—she mentioned a “Buffalo chicken grilled cheese,” a “stuffed hot pepper grilled cheese” and “french onion soup grilled cheese” as items that would rotate on the menu, and she seems open to any combination of flavors.
Follow the Cheesy Chick on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates—Andrzejak mentioned today on the Facebook page that she’d mount speakers on her truck—and be sure to sink your teeth into a gooey grilled cheese when the truck makes its triumphant debut.