Jennifer Roberts waited an hour to order “The Neapolitan” — a dessert twist on the classic grilled cheese sandwich, served up in the four-wheeled kitchen of Gorilla Cheese.
Even with Nutella, strawberries and “Marshcarpone” cheese — Mascarpone whipped with marshmallow spread — oozing from in between cinnamon raisin bread, Roberts had to snap a picture first.
“It’ll go everywhere,” she says.
“The community’s all out today, it’s a beautiful day to help support our local business.”
Gorilla Cheese parked its wheels in Gore Park on Saturday and Sunday to serve its cheesy creations. Its mobile kitchen drew dozens of first timers and regulars, unfazed by the wait of upwards an hour, and perhaps, lured by a TV camera. Some even made the trek from Cambridge, Barrie, Toronto and Markham, Ont.
The crew of the Food Network program Eat St., including its host, Toronto-native James Cunningham, was in Hamilton to shoot a segment on the local food truck.
“It’s hard to find but any chance we get to find really good Canadian street food, we are there,” says Cunningham.
Eat St., which scours North America for the best eats served in a parking lot, largely highlights American street food.
“This is amazing,” says Cunningham. “This is exactly why we’re here today because these guys drum up this kind of response.”
“Look at the atmosphere,” he says. “People are partying, people are happy.”
For Gorilla Cheese co-owner Graeme Smith, securing a spot in prime time television, is a long-awaited feat, he says.
“It’s amazing. We’ve been trying to get them for so long.”
It is a weekend-long affair for the Hamilton-based food truck that celebrated its first birthday on Saturday.
“I think we can all equally say that we’ve had the best year of our lives doing this,” says Smith.
“It came at the right time,” he says. “Now, we can have a line like this and put on a great show.”
Gorilla Cheese won an online contest, hosted by Eat St., which garnered nearly 70 entries from food trucks in North America. The food truck beat out truck grub from New York, Texas and Alberta.
“It’s such a great city to be doing this in,” says Smith. “We got such amazing support.”
To honour its first year, Gorilla Cheese unveiled a special sandwich, “El Jefe,” a variation of the Cuban sandwich, stuffed with ham, roasted pork, pickles, mustard and unsurprisingly, cheese.
A revamped menu drew siblings Stephen and Mike Algera, who arrived at 11 p.m. on Saturday, to stake out the coveted first spot in line.
“We waited, waited it out to get our grilled cheese,” says Stephen, who ate at Gorilla Cheese for the first time.
“It was worth the wait,” he says.
Overwhelmed by the support, Smith says he has never seen a crowd so large in Hamilton.
“We’re blown away,” he says. “We don’t ever want it to end, we want to keep going forward.”
You can see 60 photos from Eat St. meets Gorilla Cheese on our Facebook page. Were you there? Tag yourself.