Although the first grilled cheese appeared in Roman cook books thousands of years ago, the popularity of this lunchtime staple is as American as processed cheddar. During The Great Depression, two slices of bread slathered in butter, and filled with hearty slices of cheese was a cheap source of fuel. When the economy bounced back, households still found comfort in the easy, cheesy nature of a grilled cheese sandwich. Today, Victoria’s Tavern is taking this delicious tradition to the next level with their daily grilled cheese special – emphasis on the special.
Join Victoria’s Instagram (VICSTAVERN) for daily photos of the rotating special creations. #GC365
“We wanted to specialise in a staple that says this is what Victoria’s is all about, and grilled cheese did that. Our menu focuses on comfort food that’s fun, like our homemade Mac ‘N Cheese with Goldfish Crackers,” explains Sean Hale, Head Chef at Victoria’s Tavern. “There is so much you can do with grilled cheese. You can make them ooey gooey cheesy, fill them with something healthy, and even make them sweet. Our kitchen staff loves churning out something different every day, but one thing we’ll consistently do is keep the bread thick with one inch cuts.”
The OG is Victoria’s Tavern’s signature grill cheese sandwich. These buttery thick French loaf slices are stuffed with a four cheese blend, and then grilled to ooey gooey perfection. However, the people have spoken and the OG with thick cut bacon is the fan favourite. Between the OG, OG Bacon or Ham, Beef & Cheese, and the daily special, Victoria’s Tavern averages 800 grilled cheese sandwiches a month. The most popular side to any grill cheese sandwich is a tossup between French fries or the Alphabet Soup (served daily).
So what makes grilled cheese so good? Bread, cheese, filler, or butter? “When I want to be inspired I start with the bread. I prefer sourdough in mine, but one of my favourite drunken eats is grilled cheese made with cranberry bread and cheddar – I love the sweet and savoury,” says Hale.
Butter is often overlooked when it comes to a quality grilled cheese sandwich. When Hale wants to spice things up he whips up some chipotle butter. For extra savoury he uses bacon fat butter. Hale even threw in three different types of bacon in one grilled cheese, and toasted it with bacon butter taking the whole thing to an extreme bacon flavour.
The best grilled cheese Hale ever had wasn’t even his own creation. “I was at a grilled cheese competition in Prince Edward Island. The Chef used okra cheese, and duck fat butter. It was so good!“ So when is a grilled cheese no longer a grilled cheese? “Lettuce. I’ll never put lettuce in a grill cheese sandwich. That just isn’t right. And it has to be ooey gooey cheesy,” says Hale.
Other than that, Victoria’s Tavern has no hard or fast rules when it comes to what goes into their daily grilled cheese special. One of the weirdest creations thus far is strawberry, jalapeños, brie and bacon. The BIGGEST was the Triple Decker stuffed with prosciutto, spinach, tomato, avocado, and sundried tomato.
GRILL CHEESE CREATIONS
Cliffhanger. Inside: grilled chicken, ham, bacon, mozza, and fried egg. Outside: egg wash and coated in panko. Then pan fried. Created by Vic’s Line Cook, Nelma Dela Cruz.
The Mozza Stick. Inside: Three mozza sticks in our classic OG served. Served with a marinara dipping sauce. Created by Vic’s Kitchen Supervisor, Jason Mann.
BBQ Chiplotle Beer Chicken. Inside: BBQ chicken, chiplotle pepper sauce, bbq sauce, and mozzarella. Created by Vic’s Head Chef, Sean Hale.
Crispy apple with cinnamon and goat cream cheese on multi grain. Created by Vic’s Chef, Chad Labatt
Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese. Inside: Crispy chicken, mac and cheese, buffalo sauce and house cheese blend. Created by Vic’s Kitchen Manager, Derek Macquarrie
Bacon Cheeseburger. Inside: Spicy ground beef, bacon, pickles, tomatoes, onions, jalapeños and Velveeta cheese). Created by Vic’s Kitchen Manager, Derek Macquarrie
Camembert with apricot brandy poached pear on multi grain. Created by Vic’s Head Chef, Sean Hale.