One of the GTA's best-known food trucks, Gorilla Cheese, close to opening a restaurant in downtown Hamilton


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Graeme Smith, owner of popular Gorilla Cheese food truck plans to open a bricks-and-mortar location later this month in Hamilton

Image: Suresh Doss

As the Hamilton Spectator reported, Gorilla Cheese's bricks-and-mortar location at 131 Ottawa St. N. has been a long time coming. Graeme Smith, the company's founder, tells us that he plans to take the paper off the windows later this month and hold a grand opening party some time in October.

The new spot will serve the dual purpose of a prep kitchen for the mobile catering operation and act as a takeout counter. Smith is testing the idea of chest-high tables for patrons to use while they wait for their order or for a quick bite, but sees this mainly as a grab-and-go concept. The deep fryers and convection oven in the kitchen (much larger than he's used to on the truck) mean that the menu can expand to include french fries, breaded cutlets and a variety of protein options like roast chicken or lamb. 

 
The Neopolitan is one of Gorilla Cheese's signature dessert sandwiches. Nutella and strawberries with marsmallow and mascarpone.

 

Apparently, this part of the Hamilton's Ottawa Street was once a hub for Canada's fabric and sewing industry. Smith says it's a "neat street that has a whole bunch of different antique shops and a very pedestrian-friendly atmosphere." 

He looks forward to fitting in with this on-foot culture and to the friendly competition from the other new restaurants that have recently opened in the neighbourhood.

Funding was part of what held up the new operation. After an on-air agreement with Dragon's Den star Vikram Vij fell through Gorilla Cheese turned to crowd-funding to bridge the gap.

 
The El Gordo Queso sandwich, ground chorizo with mozzarella on white bread.
 

As well as the Ottawa Street headquarters, Gorilla Cheese is also opening a concession in the Centro Food Court in McMaster's Commons Building. They are just completing staff training now and should be ready to start year-round operation on campus next week.

As the 2015 summer food truck season winds, Smith is starting to lay down plans for next year. "We're going to slow down on bigger festivals," he explains, "and focus on things like catering. We'll also bring the food truck back to the street for more frequent curb service." 

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David Ort is the web editor at PostCity.com and the author of The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook. Check out his site, follow him on Instagram and Twitter for more great beer and food content. Have a story idea? Get in touch at davidort@postcity.com.

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