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Got Cheese?

By Ariana Matos and Leah Sheltry


Roxy’s, the whimsical grilled cheese and burger bar, is anything but fast food. With two brick-and-mortar restaurants in Allston and South Boston, and an ever-changing food truck schedule, Roxy’s is on the pulse of all things cheese. Roxy’s industrial layout features open fixtures, an eclectic array of modern pop art, and a rocker chic vibe. The enticing aroma of truffle fries arouses grilled cheese lovers from the moment they walk in the door.

“We just want to put the best-quality product out there, not the quickest lunch,” said manager Nicole Losada. “We cook every single sandwich to order with love.”

It was one rash decision made by James DiSabatino, founder of Roxy’s Grilled Cheese & Burgers, that led to the rise of a successful and expanding food truck business in the Boston area. DiSabatino, who traveled through Europe with his brother’s band, was inspired by various bread and cheese plates and decided to bring the concept to the United States, albeit in a form that would be embraced by Americans — grilled cheese. Once he entered the food truck industry with his brother Mike, they established the concept of Roxy’s. However, DiSabatino first went on an interview for an office job upon his graduation from Emerson College.

“He realized that his suit wasn’t clean; he didn’t feel prepared at all, didn’t even know why he was going on, and instead was just like, ‘nope,’ and blew off the interview and went and bought the truck that day,” said Losada.  

It is that kind of philosophy that has rocketed Roxy’s to the top of the food truck chain. The jet-black bangs and the devilish smirk of Roxy, as she relishes an oozing piece of grilled cheese, has allowed Roxy’s to be one of the most recognizable food trucks in Boston. When asked about the identity of this mysterious rocker chick with a skull-shaped tattoo on her arm, Losada smiled. 

“It’s a deep-rooted secret. Only the owner James and his brother know who Roxy is,” said Losada. To meet the demands of a growing clientele, and to keep regulars coming back for more, Roxy’s incorporates updated ingredients in their old-fashioned grilled cheese. Apart from the truffle fries, the Green Muenster Melt ― Muenster cheese, house-made guacamole, and bacon between two slabs of Iggy’s Pain de Mie (naturally crustless French bread) ― is a hit.

But it was a core customer base ― college students with a hankering for grilled cheese — that built Roxy’s from the tires up.

“When we started out, we had one food truck in one location over by Boston College,” said Losada. “As we’re growing more to restaurants in the suburbs, demographics are going to change there, but as far as our roots go, it’s pretty much who built us.”

While Roxy’s is growing faster than you can say “Muenster,” its closely knit community has not changed all that much. The first stops were in the Northeastern University and Boston College areas, where Roxy’s served customers into the early morning hours as college students migrated from bars to a place to eat — and what better meal than a hot grilled cheese with perfectly seasoned, crispy truffle fries?

These locations have extensive menus that include one-of-a-kind burgers and vegan grilled cheese options. Roxy’s is currently in the process of opening new locations in Cambridge and Lynnfield. The Cambridge location includes a twist that will lure in customers — a partnership with Area Four Pizza to create a barcade. The thought of expanding outside the state of Massachusetts has crossed DiSabatino’s mind; however, due to the hectic process of launching two new locations, the company will most likely remain in the Boston area for a little while longer.

“I think it’s kind of like a roots thing. James grew up in Revere. It’s definitely not the easiest city to operate a food truck out of, but we were one of the first, so…we’re kind of grandfathered to a point. This is where our roots are, and this is where the people who brought us to where we are live,” said Losada.

Between flipping burgers at the Allston location, and layering gooey cheeses at any number of truck stops, the Roxy’s team is busy catering ― not that there is much free time. Roxy’s employees are tasked with catering events such as weddings or graduation parties. With the rise in popularity of food-truck weddings, it makes sense that Roxy’s would delve into a new niche of a less expensive alternative to the traditional sit-down dinner.

“This summer was our busiest. September especially is a crazy wedding month. Every Saturday we had four weddings,” said Losada.

Grilled cheese has the power to satisfy the hunger of special occasion guests, but also of simple cheese lovers who want to try something new or indulge in their favorite sandwich. Roxy’s accommodates the needs of every individual with a craving for grilled cheese. Although it can be hectic from the perspective of a server, Losada described the pleasure of serving these immense crowds.

“On the truck, you have the ability to serve 600 people in only four hours, and it’s like, just this crazy’s just fun to see people that are genuinely excited about grilled cheese,” said Losada.

The public’s craving for this scrumptious and gooey sandwich will continue to be satisfied by Roxy’s Grilled Cheese & Burgers. Visit the new locations in Lynnfield and Cambridge, which opened to the public in November 2016. 

485 Cambridge St., Allston, (617) 202-5864; @roxysgrilledcheese

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