There are far fewer things in this world that do not get better after adding cheese. Add in thick, crusty sourdough bread and I’m in comfort food heaven. Hence my extreme excitement in learning of the opening of Tom + Chee in Lansing in December 2013!
The Washington Square location appeared to be like any other small, cozy sandwich shop in Downtown Lansing until I walked through the door. I was greeted with a warm welcome in the form of a holler from somewhere in the back of the room accompanied with the delicious scent of my favorite food: CHEESE! Not unlike most new experiences at restaurants, I began to scour the menu for anything that sounded good. The large, expansive menu was quite hard to miss as the technicolor chalkboard posted high above eye level against an exposed brick wall (swoon!). The problem was that EVERYTHING sounded good. A few of the most memorable “grilled cheese sandwiches” were Blueberry Blue (made with blueberry compote, bleu cheese and lemon mascarpone sandwiched between two grilled glazed donuts), Hippe Chee ( hummus, cucumber, mixed greens, tomato, and cheddar grilled between two pieces of wheat bread), and Flying Pig (roasted turkey, bacon, pickles, and gouda on sourdough)! Customers also have the option to create their own sandwich choosing their own ingredients of bread, cheeses, and toppings. Tom + Chee also provides a myriad of options for the healthier crowd including gluten free bread, vegan cheese, and vegetarian and vegan soups. The Lansing location also offers as variety of fresh salads and seasonal options such as gazpacho bleu cheese chili. Unlike most restaurants in the downtown area, they roast their own meats in house and make all dressings, spreads, and sauces from scratch. Before even placing my order, I was in love!
Feeling nostalgic on the cold, blustery Michigan evening, I opted for the Tom + Chee (tomatoes, garlic seasoning, cheddar, and mozzarella on sourdough) with a side of creamy, tomato basil soup. It arrived to my spot by the window (which allowed for optimal people watching as the 9-5ers made their way home in the blizzard!) warm, gooey, and perfect. It was optimal serving size leaving me lingering for more, yet full enough to avoid noshing in the next hour. My sister ordered the kids meal version of the Tom + Chee with a mini side of pepperoni. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust her palate, but I had to have a bite for myself. I kid you not; it was exactly like devouring the toppings off a pizza. My notable about my experience was speed, accuracy and price point of the experience. All delicious sandwiches, soups, and salads at Tom + Chee can be all yours for under $7.
You can try all the delicious concoctions or arrange your own sandwich at the Downtown Lansing location from 10:30a.m. to 7:00p.m. Monday through Saturday at 123 South Washington Avenue. It is a great meal for in between meetings, quick lunch breaks or when you just need some good comfort food. Also be sure to follow them on Facebook for up-to-date house specials and breaking cheese news! You can also catch an inside glimpse of the emerging chain on rerun episodes of ABC’s Shark Tank, The Chew and Man vs Nation.
You can be sure to expect big things from this little idea that started in a food tent in Cincinnati, Ohio just a few shorts years ago and perhaps I’ll see you there next time. You can find me at the window bar with some variety of their famous glazed donuts sandwich: I’ve made a pact to myself to order outside of the box next time!