Once upon a time, way back in 2010, not many people in Western New York were really familiar with the idea of serving unique food out of the side of a truck.
Fast forward nine years, and you can’t swing a fist full of brown paper napkins in this town without hitting some kind of food truck. Food trucks may not be as novel as they once were, but the platform is still a great launching pad for aspiring local restaurateurs.
Known for its unique takes on grilled cheese, The Cheesy Chick is the latest food truck to make the jump to stand-alone restaurant, recently opening a brick-and-mortar location on Main Street in Williamsville.
Part of an ownership group that took over the truck in 2013, Jonathan Rowan told us he’s witnessed the explosion of the local food truck industry first-hand.
Rowan said when they first started operating the truck, “you could really only get the food trucks around Larkin Square, for a few lunches and a few dinners. I think our first year, we did only like 50 events and lunches in the whole year. In 2018, we 1,100 or 1,200 events – just skyrocketing into a whole different category.”
“Nowadays, there’s definitely a lot of competition. The competition really isn’t hurting us, but the novelty has definitely gone away from food trucks.”
Rowan attributed a large part of The Cheesy Chick’s success to freshness and a made-to-order approach.
“People can really tell the difference of a fresh-cut tomato or a fresh-cut pepper, and when they can smell the bacon literally cooking on the grill,” he said. “I think that’s what really made us so successful. We’ve had such a small simple menu: We were able to keep things really fresh and consistent.”
Recently, we found the abc (apples, bacon, cheddar) sandwich to be crispy, gooey sweet and salty, while the renowned mac ‘n’ cheese was super creamy and saucy. Drink options at the new counter-service cafe include Coca-Cola products.
Besides serving fresh, unique food, a big part of The Cheesy Chick’s focus is sustainability. The new restaurant has a lot of items that were reused or recycled from other restaurants, giving the cafe a quirky 90s vibe. There are also eco-friendly lights, eco-friendly straws, reusable totes, reusable mugs and reusable to-go boxes. On top of that, the company plans to hold recycling campaigns with different themes. For instance, July’s campaign is to recycle old mascara brushes for use in efforts to clean up various types of material spills. Rowans said people can find out about these campaigns by following The Cheesy Chick on social media.
Clearly, what started out as a humble food truck has become so much more. The Cheesy Chick isn’t just making better comfort food; she’s trying to make the world a better place.
The Cheesy Chick Cafe
5385 Main Street, Williamsville, NY 14221
Hours: Monday, Wednesday to Saturday 8:30 a.m.- 6:30 p.m., Sunday 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m, Tuesday CLOSED