The story of Tom + Chee is one that goes from pop up tent to TV and one that was injected with success after winning an investment on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” It’s no secret and they love telling that story over and over again: mentions of the show are on nearly every sign, and the origin story/dream is displayed as you walk inside:
I do appreciate a good story…but I appreciate good food even more. On this particular day, I was drawn in by the comfort food of grown-up grilled cheese sandwiches with ingredients made from scratch. Hailing from Portland, OR, I was accustomed to quirky innovations, farm fresh ingredients, and fusion food mash-ups, but Tom + Chee proved to be a pleasant surprise.
Tom + Chee has a decent list of ingredients that you can choose to create your own custom grilled cheese sandwich. Overwhelmed? Lazy? You can order one of many signature fancy sandwiches:
(there’s also a specials board for more to choose from…for their full menu, visit this page)
On this day, I opted for the West of Philly ($6.45), which includes grilled onions, mushrooms, and peppers in addition to roast beef, garlic aioli, and pepperjack and hardy white cheeses. I paired it up with the chunky tomato basil soup ($5). I also tried the grilled cheese salad ($6.45) and the turkey chili with blue cheese ($5). Finally, I opted for their infamous classic grilled cheese donut ($3.45).
This was the West of Philly:
This monstrosity was buttery, cheesy, and super soft. The roast beef and grilled peppers came through beautifully. The garlic aioli could shine a bit more, as it was drowned out by massive amounts of cheese and another ingredients. I really enjoyed it but I don’t think I’d ever recommend eating this without an accompanying soup to cut through the greasy-creamy flavors. Thus, I got the chunky tomato basil:
The chunky tomato basil soup was one of my favorite parts of the meal. It tasted of fresh, ripe tomatoes with a nice punch of aromatic basil. It was’t a cream-based soup so this it paired up well with the grilled cheese.
If you want to healthier options, they do offer a salad – topped with grilled cheese “croutons” of course.
There was nothing particularly striking about the salad, though the grilled cheese topping was much better than crouton I’ve ever had. The soup of the day, a turkey chili blue cheese on top, was perfectly balanced with a melt-in-your mouth texture. I don’t know why blue cheese on chili sin’t really a thing…but it should be. I could have eaten multiple bowls of this dish alone and would have been satisfied.
The grilled cheese donut is exactly that: a grilled cheese sandwich that uses a glazed donut instead of sliced bread for its outer layer, providing that combination of salty-sweet while it overflows with hot, melted cheese…almost like a more solid version of fondue. It was decadent, everything that I thought it would be like. While they had many variations of this with unique toppings to choose from, it wasn’t anything that I thought I’d need to try again.
If you’re feeling ambitious, they have a grilled cheese donut eating challenge: eat a baker’s dozen in under 10 minutes and get a $50 gift card, a t-shirt, and your name on the wall. The caveat: the contest costs $45 to try. Not exactly the best deal ever.
The place was perfectly fine…and if I find myself out shopping near Costco or World Market, I might swing by. Good pricing, good food. Just a bit heavy.
Tom + Chee, 6702 Charlotte Pike #105, Nashville, TN 37209