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No Charm at Cheesie's

By John DiGilio in Food on Jun 20, 2012 8:20PM

2012_6_DiGilio_cheesies.jpg What is not to like about grilled cheese? Unless you are allergic to milk or lactose intolerant, chomping a hot, gooey grilled cheese is about as close to making love to your tastebuds as you are going to get. We are not embellishing here! So the very thought of a restaurant that is dedicated to this king of crusts was enough to send us into hunger convulsions. Sadly, it was poor service, slow preparation, and a little too much grease that sent us home with sour moods and tummy aches.

From the look of the menu, Cheesie's Pub & Grub has the potential to be a comfort food lover's nirvana. There are at least 11 different kinds of grilled cheese available. They are packed with everything from Cheddar and American cheeses to an array of meats (bacon anyone?) and even off the walll additions, like tater tots. Each is served on thick-cut Texas toast. Add in the appetizers, soups, and sides, and you get the sense that you could leave there in a wheelbarrow if you're not careful. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? We thought so too.

We visited Cheesie's on a slow weeknight, looking to really get our cheese coma on. At first glance, we were excited. The interior is spacious and fun, with plenty of tables and a large bar in the center. We took our seats at the bar and eagerly perused the menu. The guy behind the bar was really attentive, right up until the moment he realized one of our friends had a Groupon. That was when things went south. He became agitated and rude and almost immediately began ignoring us. Now say what you will about the merits of Groupon. We've heard it all. The bottom line is that once a restaurant decides to offer one, they have no excuse to treat purchasers with contempt. The situation got so tense we had to move from the bar to a table. We sent someone up to place our orders and waited for the grilled cheeses to make the world right again.

So we waited. And we waited. And we waited some more. It was a good 30 minutes until the food began arriving at our table. We chalked it up to the sandwiches looking so thick. Yeah, that had to be it . . . or so we hoped. A few bites in and something became readily apparent to us all. There was enough grease on these things to lubricate the Red Line. They were tasty in a way. But so very greasy. Even the fries. In fact, we ended up tossing the fries and some over-cooked fried pickles completely. We were still smarting from the poor service and dinner was doing nothing to make us feel any better.

Maybe we were the wrong clientele. Maybe it was an off night. Maybe, maybe, maybe. There is no sugar-coating this one, however. We did not have a good experience at Cheesie's. There is potential here. Comfort food is where it's at these days and their prices are certainly in line with budget-conscious dining. We even understand that they recently underwent a major interior renovation. Perhaps an overhaul of the service and preparation will make an even bigger difference.

Cheesie's Pub & Grub is located at 958 West Belmont Avenue.