The way I see it, there are three levels to eating at Tom + Chee.
Taking the modest traditional grilled cheese and tomato soup to new heights, Tom + Chee is best when you stop counting calories. (See how they got to Tom + Chee?)
I know this because… I attended a blogger taste test this week at the West Maple Street Tom + Chee and compared amounts of grilled cheese sandwiches and grilled glazed donuts that would make linebackers blush.
Here’s my takeaway: You have three choices when dining at Tom + Chee (none of them are wrong).
1. Unabashed Enjoyment Of The Chee
This is my favorite. Accept that this is a single meal in the grand scheme of your more colorful and plant-based diet and go to town. Get that grilled cheese donut, you know you’re curious.
My recommendations: The winners during the taste test were standouts. The turkey pesto – made with sunflower seeds instead of walnuts – great and the night I had it, it was served with smoked Gouda instead of mozzarella. Another good choice is Tom + Chee’s most popular sandwich, the Flying Pig (turkey, bacon, smoked Gouda, and crisp pickles).
And heck, order a little dipper: For a buck, you can get a small soup to dip your grilled cheese in.
Go big: You can add extras to sandwiches. I tried one sandwich with potato chips in it – remember adding those to the bologna sandwich your mom packed in your school lunch? Try it with melted cheese. Really want to fall off the bandwagon – like over a cliff? Add mac n cheese.
Top it off with dessert: Admit it, you’re there because you’re curious about these so-called grilled cheese donuts. Can they be that good?
My favorite of the night was the strawberry lemonade. You take a glazed donut, split it into two, add fresh strawberries and candied lemons and seal those in with lemon mascarpone and mozzarella. Grill it and serve. Messy? Yes.
2. Lots Of Chee With A Side Of Color
You might have noticed in the above pictures an overall color scheme of yellow and beige. So, the second level of Tom + Chee enjoyment adds some color to your diet in the form of vegetables.
My recommendations: Create a build-your-own sandwich with whatever sounds good to you (bacon) and make your mom proud by adding any of the unlimited vegetable toppings.
Then, order a salad and pat yourself on the back. The salad still has a ton of cheese on it, so you’re not going to starve.
I tried two – Green Goat and Caprese Salad. Both were winners.
Not a salad person? The “Tom” in Tom + Cheese is for tomato soup. They have four varieties. Try the Creamy Tomato Basil, it’s not the healthiest option of the soups, it’s just tastes wonderful.
Since you did get some vegetables in there, I say go crazy and get that grilled cheese donut and split it. Several have fruit in them, so that makes them healthy, right? 😉 The King has fresh bananas (served with peanut butter, mascarpone and cheddar.)
3. Healthier choices
I was embarrassed and hated myself a little with how much I ate at Tom + Chee. If you fear going off the deep end with that much butter and cheese, I hear you.
My recommendations: Start off with a chunky tomato soup, it tastes how I wish my garden tomato soup would taste. Fresh with no additives, it’s the way soup ought to be, and it’s just tomato, basil and garlic (beware of creamy varieties if you’re trying to cut down on calories).
You could order a salad, and be done with it.
Or go the grilled cheese route, trying a build-your-own sandwich with just one cheese (instead of the allowed two) and go for a less processed meat if any. Stack on those veggies. You’re going to be hard-pressed finding calories listed anywhere, so use your judgement with extras – maybe the mustard instead of oil-based stuff.
There is a sandwich called the Hippie + Chee, with good stuff like cucumber, greens and tomatoes in it. The hummus in it didn’t do a thing for me, though.
Best time to go is Tuesday nights: Kids eat for .99 cents. Kids meals, called Lil Grillas, comes with a small grilled cheese; small soup, fruit or chips; and a drink.
If You Go
Tom + Chee
Where: 14513 W. Maple Road
Cost: Per the company’s website, most Sandwiches start at $3.95 and up. Most salads start at $3.45 for a small and up. Soup usually start at $3 and up. Donuts start at $3.95 and up.
Edited August 3, 2015: Congrats to Cheryl E.! Your entry was drawn to win the first giveaway. Oh My! Omaha subscribers are automatically entered in the second giveaway, which will be drawn Friday, August 7. To subscribe for free, go here.
Want to try Tom + Chee for yourself? They’re still pretty new here, so I bet some of you have yet to visit.
The local Tom + Chee gave me some vouchers to let some of my readers try their cheesy good stuff! Two people will win vouchers worth for two fancy grilled cheese sandwiches and one grilled glazed donut – each worth about $25 of food! This is for the Omaha location.
1. First way to win: Visit the website to browse the menu, then leave me a comment telling me which sandwich you want to try. Earn a bonus entry by following me on Instagram; leave a comment with your Instagram handle.
Giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 2. I’ll draw a winner’s name randomly (via random.org) on Monday, Aug. 3, and the winner will have 48 hours to reply to my email.
2. Second way to win: One Oh My! Omaha e-newsletter subscriber will be randomly drawn to win the second set of vouchers. I’ll draw a winner’s name on Friday, Aug. 7. Same deal goes, the winner will have 48 hours to reply to my email.
More giveaways to feed your Tom + Chee habit!
MakingMine (2 winners, giveaway ends July 31)
Sarah Eats Omaha (2 winners, giveaway ends Aug. 1)
Ashley Nicole Photographer (2 winners, giveaway ends Aug. 3)
Bakes in Slippers (2 winners, giveaway ends Aug. 3)
Happy Sammy (2 winners, giveaway ends Aug. 8)
The Walking Tourists (2 winners, giveaway ends Aug. 11)
Coolest Mommy (2 winners, giveaway ends Aug. 14)
Disclaimer: I was provided complimentary samples of a ton of Tom + Chee sandwiches, salads and soups in order to share my opinion on them here, as well as food vouchers. Vouchers for the giveaway were provided by Tom + Chee as well.