The food truck everyone loves to love, The Happy Grilled Cheese, tried to open their long-awaited brick and mortar store this week without any fanfare. To be fair, they did succeed in opening without fanfare, but it was short-lived. Word spread and grilled cheese fans throughout Jax made a pilgrimage of sorts downtown to 219 N. Hogan Street to support and celebrate The Happy Grilled Cheese team and the cheeses that no longer have to be stalked before eating.
We, too, made the pilgrimage and were delighted with The Happy Grilled Cheese’s new home. The menu has been expanded to include salads and loaded mac n cheese, but all your favorite things about HGC are exactly the same. No recipes have changed in the moving process. We have two pro tips, though. 1. You can add mac n cheese to any grilled cheese. 2. If there are any specials you should try them. Specials result from the staff cooking for themselves after hours and coming up with something they just can’t help but share. There was a Mediterranean Pasta Salad side this week that was fire.
The space itself oozes the ethos of The Happy Grilled Cheese. Literally, there is neon orange “cheese” oozing down the walls. The chairs are the same unbelievable orange and the tables are decorated with words and phrases honoring cheese and their food truck roots. Guests are greeted by the words, “I’ll stop the world and melt with you” running the width of the restaurant above the counter. There’s even an easter egg in the bathroom. (Hint: look in the mirror.) The music playing was fun and induced dancing in at least a few guests. The last thing guests see as they leave is HGC’s tagline, “Take it cheesy” painted above the front windows.
Grilled cheese is a fun food, it makes people smile. That has always been integral to The Happy Grilled Cheese experience. With their new brick and mortar store nothing has changed about who HGC is and the community they are a part of.
Congrats, The Happy Grilled Cheese!
People were taken quite by surprise about the HGC opening and had questions, so we’ll do our best to answer them.
Q: OMG, I’m love The Happy Grilled Cheese, I’m so excited for them! But are they still going to operate the food truck? Because they come to my work sometimes and I still want to get my grilled cheese at lunch from the truck.
A: Yes, they will continue to operate the food truck. However, the truck is taking a short break on weekday lunches until they finish staffing and training at the restaurant. They are doing evening and weekend spots with the truck in the meantime. They’ll be back to food truck lunches as soon as they have 2 full teams to staff the restaurant and truck at the same time. Shouldn’t be long.
Q: I thought they were opening in Five Points?
A: Yeah, well, from the looks of things they didn’t.
Q: Why did they decide to open downtown?
A: Why does any business do what it does? It must have been a situation or an opportunity that worked for them. Or perhaps…..an offer they couldn’t refuse… Just kidding, pretty sure the mob sticks to garbage service and meat processing, not grilled cheeses.
Q: Isn’t downtown where restaurants go to die?
A: Hmmm maybe ask Candy Apple Cafe, Kazu Sushi Burrito, Cafe Nola, Olio, etc. There are a number of restaurants doing well downtown.
Q: Are they going to revitalize downtown?
A: Single-handedly? That’s a pretty lofty goal, especially for a lunch restaurant, even if it is a whimsical grilled cheese place. I doubt revitalizing downtown is part of their mission statement, but are they adding to the downtown scene by opening a restaurant there? I think so.
Q: Which grilled cheese should I order?
A: All of them.
HGC will be closed this Friday through the Labor Day weekend. They will reopen for regular lunch hours next week starting on Tuesday, September 5, 11am-3pm.