A two-unit Cincinnati-based grilled cheese and tomato concept named Tom + Chee is coming to the Highlands in May at 1704 Bardstown Road, an inline retail slot last held by Penn Station.

The company had a kind of a cool coming out party by hosting a booth at last week’s Dare to Care Taste of Derby Festival. Currently one unit is in Cincy, the other in Newport, Ky., on the Levee.

If you haven’t figured out the name yet, it’s a reference to the longstanding partnership of tomato soup and grilled cheese—which begs the question: Can one really wring a concept out of that?

Tom + Chee’s grilled cheese donut. Yeah, no kidding. That’s what it is. Maybe it could be sold alongside the Krispy Kreme burger at the State Fair … next to the EMS station.

Its website proclaims the following:

“We showcase the world’s most creative selections of grilled cheese, including the Grippo’s BBQ+Bacon and the Grilled Cheese Donut, as well as homemade soups and fresh salads.

“All of our soups are homemade. We roast our turkey, chicken and beef as well as make our own salad dressings. With a menu that fits in well for a quick work day lunch, a day out with the family or a late night with your friends, people around the city and country are asking for more Tom+Chee.”

The menu notes that Tom + Chee is “home of the grilled cheese donut,” which sounds, well … I don’t know. Elvis would love it, but the King’s dietary endorsement isn’t necessarily a good thing. Tasty and deadly in the same bite? Should I require such a risky meal, I’ll try fugu instead.

What I do like about the menu is it’s simple, tight and on theme. It is what it says it is: soups and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Still, the question remains whether it can supply enough variety over the long haul; how many times does the craving for grilled cheese and soup strike in a given week?

I’m hoping to speak with the concept’s owners sometime this week to ask just that, and I’ll update this info if anything tasty comes from that chat.

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Steve Coomes
Steve Coomes is a restaurant veteran turned award-winning food, spirits and travel writer. In his 24-year career, he has edited and written for multiple national trade and consumer publications including Nation's Restaurant News and Southern Living. He is a feature writer for Louisville magazine, Edible Louisville & The Bluegrass and Food & Dining Magazine. The author of two books, "Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke," and the "Home Distiller's Guide to Spirits," he also serves as a ghostwriter for multiple clients.

4 thoughts on “Soup and grilled cheese concept, Tom + Chee, coming to Louisville in May

  1. Wow… another brilliant “concept”… posers rejoice!!!  Millions have enjoyed tomato soup and grilled cheese their whole lives.  The best:  3rd St. Cafe, at 3rd and Oak.  THE BEST.  Toast is pretty good too.

  2. Wow… another brilliant “concept”… posers rejoice!!!  Millions have enjoyed tomato soup and grilled cheese their whole lives.  The best:  3rd St. Cafe, at 3rd and Oak.  THE BEST.  Toast is pretty good too.

  3. Trust me you will be going to Tom + Chee once every week after you try it! There is always something new to try whether that be a new soup, or a new grilled sandwich. I usually have a grilled cheese donut as my dessert. It is the best grilled cheese place I’ve ever tried! 

  4. Trust me you will be going to Tom + Chee once every week after you try it! There is always something new to try whether that be a new soup, or a new grilled sandwich. I usually have a grilled cheese donut as my dessert. It is the best grilled cheese place I’ve ever tried! 

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