Phantom Gourmet: Roxy’s Grilled Cheese In Allston

Phantom Gourmet: Roxy’s Grilled Cheese In Allston

Thought you knew everything about the simple grilled cheese sandwich? Well, think again, because at Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, you’ve never seen grilled cheeses, like these.

“We like to take the idea of the grilled cheese you grew up with and kind of turn it upside down,” said owner James DiSabatino.

Roxy’s is a quick and casual spot where the open kitchen offers up a simple, craveable menu of grilled cheese sandwiches, awesome burgers, and hand cut fries.

DiSabatino has a passion of grilled cheese, so he started serving them out of a big yellow food truck a few years ago. The sandwiches became so popular that he opened a brick and mortar location in Allston, where customers are flocking for a gooey, golden taste of nostalgia.

“It never really goes out of style. It’s something people always crave, and it just gives you a lot of opportunity to be creative.”

No matter what you put on your grilled cheese, there’s a whole lot of attention that goes in to making your sandwich.

“I like to think of grilled cheese as science, and basically the way the science goes is that it has to be perfectly toasted at the same rate that it’s perfectly melted,” DiSabatino explained. “A little bit too high of heat and it’s not going to work; and a little bit too low of heat and it’s not going to work. So it takes a lot of attention to detail, and whoever is on the grill at that moment, needs to have really great judgment as to when that sandwich is perfectly done.”

Roxy's Grilled Cheese (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Roxy’s Grilled Cheese (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Roxy’s prides itself on using the best possible ingredients and techniques to create the perfect grilled cheese… and it all starts with the bread.

“It’s an Iggy’s pan di mi bread, which is kind of like a light sourdough, but it’s all organic flour. It’s really nice and dense and chewy. It’s not gonna fall apart like Wonder bread.”

Then, instead of spreading that bread with butter, James prefers to use mayo.

“Mayo has a higher smoking point, so you’re not gonna burn it. It just makes for a perfect color, a perfect crisp and it’s really easy to apply, and personally I just think it’s more delicious.”

The Rookie Melt (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

The Rookie Melt (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Now, if you’re looking for a classic combo, the Rookie Melt is the way to go.

“Rookie’s really simple. You’re gonna take three nice thick slices of Vermont cheddar. Two are gonna go on the bottom side, one’s gonna go on the top side. Two nice, thick slices of tomato,” he demonstrated. “This is gonna get a press, and it’s gonna be about three, three and a half minutes on each side.”

The Allston (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

The Allston (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

If you want to really get crazy with your grilled cheese, Roxy’s has you covered. For something a bit fancy there’s The Allston, with goat cheese, fig jam, caramelized onions, and arugula. For a hearty, hefty handful, try the Mighty Rib, packed with Fontina, caramelized onions, and barbecue braised beef.

The Might Rib (Image:  Phantom Gourmet)

The Might Rib (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

“People are used to eating a grilled cheese sandwich that’s really small and thin, be we like to fill people up,” James said.

And nothing fills James up like the Green Muenster, a combination he created back in college, featuring Muenster cheese, house made Guacamole, and North Country Bacon.

“It’s everything you could possibly want. It’s super acidic and limey from the guacamole. It has awesome, crispy, smoky bacon. It’s salty; it’s savory; it’s pretty much my favorite sandwich I’ve ever had.”

The Green Muenster (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

The Green Muenster (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

James puts just as much thought into eating grilled cheese as he does into making them.

“There’s a few different schools to how you’re gonna eat sandwiches. Some people start at the outside, but some people go right for the middle. I start from the outside, but I applaud someone who goes right for the middle of it,” he laughed.

Obviously grilled cheese comes first at Roxy’s, but their burgers are certainly no afterthought. The juicy West Coast style patties are sizzled up on a flat top, topped with gourmet ingredients, and served on fresh baked Portuguese Sweet Rolls.

There’s a Mushroom Burger with Swiss, caramelized onions, arugula, and truffle mayo, and a Muenster Burger with guacamole. But the best seller, by far, is known as Justin’s Burger.

'Justin's Burger' at Roxy's Grilled Cheese (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

‘Justin’s Burger’ at Roxy’s Grilled Cheese (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

“It’s got a housemade pimento cheese, some spicy chipotle mayo, some fresh cut Grillo’s pickles, and caramelized onions. It’s amazing; it’s spicy; it’s sweet; it’s salty. I just love it because it has every flavor you could want. It’s just totally balanced and delicious.”

Of course you’ve got to have some fries on the side, and while the hand cut spuds are great with sea salt and truffle oil, they’re even better when they’re loaded up in a big bowl of poutine.

“We just start with a really great beef gravy, and then we use our hand cut fries, some cheese curds from up in Vermont, and just top it with a little bit of fresh rosemary,” described James. “I think you’re gonna feel really excited when you take your first bite. And by then end of it you might feel a little sleepy. Hopefully there’s someone to share it with though.”

Poutine at Roxy's Grilled Cheese (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Poutine at Roxy’s Grilled Cheese (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Even if you don’t come in to Roxy’s with a friend, you just might leave with one, because being friendly is a big part of what this place is all about.

“I wanted to be able to meet new people and enjoy new experiences and make people happy, and just be friendly to people. Just have fun while you’re working, and treat everyone like they’re your friend, because they really are.”

You can find Roxy’s Grilled Cheese at 485 Cambridge Street in Allston, or online at

Watch Phantom Gourmet on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 and 11 a.m. on myTV38.