Gorilla Cheese's James Klayman Defends His $8.75 Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

When it took to the streets last month, Gorilla Cheese was the first of a trinity of fancy grilled-cheese trucks scheduled to debut this summer. Office workers and bloggers duly expressed excitement over the promise of roving melted dairy, tater tots, mac 'n' cheese, and a slew of dipping sauces. Until, that is, they were hit with an acute case of sticker shock.

To wit: Last Friday, one of Midtown Lunch's bloggers expressed incredulity over the $8.75 price tag attached to the relatively paltry asiago and prosciutto sandwich he purchased. "That's pushing it for a sandwich in general," he wrote, "but for buttered bread and cheese, I'd have to say it's ludicrous."

The bread, he continued, "was smaller than your typical store bought loaf," and the amount of prosciutto "tiny." For a "cheap, filling lunch (from a truck, no less!), it just doesn't cut it," he concluded.

Numerous ML commenters agreed overwhelmingly with his assessment, professing disgust over the "insane" prices. "This will be a good litmus test to see if new yorkers have officially lost their minds over food trucks and will buy anything that comes out of them," heWho wrote.

So we called James Klayman, Gorilla's owner, to get his response to the criticism.

"I don't know if I want to respond to it," Klayman said. "But the fact of the matter is we use top-quality imported and domestic cheese, and natural, fresh-baked bread that we pick up daily. When I compare our prices to other people, they're pretty much in line with them.

"Everything we use is top-quality here," he repeated.

That said, he's planning to do a sales analysis by installing a point-of-sales system "in a week or two." He adds that he's lowered the price of dessert from $4 to $3. "We're going to do our best to accommodate people for the most part," he said.

"Ninety percent of my customers are happy walking away with a $10 lunch special," Klayman added. So how's business these days? "Business has been fine," he said, before getting off the phone.

Have a tip or restaurant-related news? Send it to fork@villagevoice.com.

And follow us on Twitter: @ForkintheRoadVV.


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