Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Dig grilled cheese? You should check out Toasty's

One of the things we did over the holiday break was take the kids out to Toasty's for dinner before hitting our favourite local coffee shop to play some of the board games the kids got for Christmas.

I remember first noticing Toasty's a couple months ago. We were headed downtown for a Games & Grub Windsor Gaming Resource event when I saw their large red and white sign and asked my wife: "What the heck is Toasty's?"

At the time neither of us had any clue. I think I posted something on facebook or mentioned it at work. I don't remember the details but somehow, someone, told me that it's a place that specializes in grilled cheese.

That's right a restaurant in Downtown Windsor that specializes in grilled cheese. How cool is that? I knew I had to check it out sometime, and I'm glad we finally did.

Toasty's Grilled Cheese & Salad Bar (the official full name) is located at 357 Ouellette in Downtown Windsor. It's in the same block as Maazar, the old Palace (now the Windsor Star), Basil Court and more. The front makes the place look small but it's actually really deep inside with plenty of seating.

It's set up like a Subway. A long bar with all kinds of fresh ingredients with a cashier at the end. You go to the end to  order and pick up your food at the other end. Well sorta. You do this if you order one of their salads. Which are made fresh there and you get to choose between lots of different things. What things? No clue, I'm not much of a salad guy. I was here for a grilled cheese! When you order a sandwich they will bring it out to your table.

The first thing I needed to figure out is which grilled cheese I wanted. There were a ton to choose from. Just check out the menu there on the left. What a crazy amount of types of grilled cheese! 

I was really tempted to try the Toasty's original. This has Cheddar, American, Mozzarella and Parmesan and is only $5.30. That seemed like a waste though. Coming to a place with this much selection I felt I needed to get something more unique. Something I couldn't just make at home. The Chicken Parm tempted me (Chicken, Croutons, Mozzarella, Parmesan and Marinara for $6.85) but I eventually settled for a Toasty's Club Sammich which had Turkey, Bacon, Cheddar, Mozzarella, Tomato and Spinach for $6.85. I ordered mine without Tomato as I'm not a huge fan of the 'mato. The kids each got a BCT (Bacon, Cheddar and Tomato for $6.63) and my wife got a Toasty's Prime (Roast Beef, Onion, Mushroom, Mozzarella, Swiss and Horseradish for $6.85). We chose to combo two of these to get a couple of drinks and some Marconi Salad.

The food was served on plastic trays with the sandwiches wrapped in white and red checked wax paper wrap. Something that just made it feel kind of cafeteria like. For whatever reason this seemed to fit the place really well. The entire meal had a very lunchroom feel to it. I kept thinking that if I lived downtown I would totally be eating here all the time.

While we were there, a couple came in to get take out. I had to smile when I saw that their orders were handed over in brown paper bags. I thought that was perfect. One thing we did wrong: ordering a sandwich for each of the kids. These are big grilled cheeses. Neither kid was able to finish any more than  half of their meal. Next time we will definitely have them split a meal. 

So how was it? Rather good. It wasn't the be all end all. I was somewhat hoping for really high end grilled cheese and that's not really what this was. This was a really cool mix of traditionally made grilled cheese with some cool ingredients. Where I was hoping for fresh turkey breast, I got sliced deli meat. Now this wasn't really a bad thing it just didn't match my original expectations. Now knowing what to expect, I totally appreciate what Toasty's is: a great place to grab an interesting grilled cheese sandwich at a great price.

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