Tom + Chee: So Much Wasted Potential

Written By Caroline in Reviews

One Clean Plate - Tom + Chee Exterior by Caroline Wik

Tom + Chee

Newport On The Levee
1 Levee Way
Newport, KY 41071

3 out of 5 Plates

Hours: Mon – Thurs: 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Fri – Sat: 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Sun: 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Price: Grilled Cheese, Soup & Salads: $3 – $5

Tom+Chee (Newport) on Urbanspoon

Court St.:
Tom+Chee (Court St) on Urbanspoon

Tom + Chee has enjoyed a huge surge in popularity lately with word being that they make awesome grilled cheese sandwiches and were even featured on Adam Richman’s Man Vs. Food Nation on Travel Channel for their grilled cheese donut.

Grilled cheese donut – what? Really? Okay, discussion over. We’re going.

When we finally made it to Tom + Chee it was a Saturday during lunch. I didn’t think it would be so bad, except when we got there the line was way out the door – which is a good sign but can be annoying.

When we finally made it inside the entire menu is written in chalk on one of the walls behind the entire line. Due to the large number of people in front of us, and the sheer size of the menu, I didn’t really get to read much of it by the time we were up to order. I spouted the first thing I saw – the Pesto + Turkey. I figured it should be tasty, since I like both turkey and pesto, and it had mozzarella and sourdough bread – both of which are also very tasty.

Adam got the same sandwich that Adam Richman got – the Blueberry Bleu. It’s a glazed donut with mozzarella, bleu cheese, and blueberry compote.

I got yelled at for taking a picture of the menu, paid, and then we were both shuffled through to the dining area with a card in hand to put on our table so they know where to take the food. Every table was taken, so we stood waiting. It was thanks to this that I was able to get a good look around at the restaurant and noticed just how messy it was – and every member of the small staff were all behind the counter.

One Clean Plate - Tom + Chee Blueberry Bleu the famous Grilled Donut by Caroline Wik

Eventually, we did get a table (luckily right before our food was ready) which we had to clean off ourselves – which I suppose explains the dirty floor. With nobody to clean the tables in between diners, people just do it themselves and must just brush the crumbs off to the floor.

I had heard the staff was friendly, but judging by how snappy the fellow was with me taking a picture with my phone of the menu, the fact that none of them were smiling, and that when we did get our food it was kind of thrown at us, I’d have to disagree. It’s likely they were overworked – they looked understaffed – so I can’t entirely blame them.

Finally, time to eat. The cheese and sugary glaze on Adam’s Blueberry Bleu was dripping all over the place. But, he was content with it. I couldn’t help but take a bite too. The blueberry compote was sweet with a hint of bitter. The cheeses added an interesting contrast to the sweetness of the compote and donut that neither complimented nor clashed with it. They simply existed together in a weird sort of harmony that managed to work. It’s a decent tasting donut/sandwich, however it’s rather small for the $5 it costs.

One Clean Plate - Tom + Chee Pesto + Turkey by Caroline Wik

My Pesto + Turkey was not quite as good unfortunately. The turkey was dry and I was pretty annoyed that they used regular white bread instead of the sourdough the menu promised me. The pesto sauce and cheese were good, but I’d be surprised if anyone managed to mess that up. It wasn’t a terrible sandwich overall, but the dryness of it made me have to really force down the last few bites, and the turkey just wasn’t good at all. Had the turkey been significantly less dry and bland, and the bread the sourdough I wanted, it would have been a good sandwich.

We ate and left quickly, which is unlike us but we didn’t want to make people stand while we sat and chatted. Overall, I can’t really recommend the Newport Tom+Chee but I can’t say to avoid it either. If you’re in Newport, and want to give it a try, I’d suggest going during an off-time and hope that it is cleaner then.

Hopefully the Court St. location is much better, and we intend on giving it a shot since the food was good enough. However, we’re not in any hurry.

Want to see some more pictures of the Newport Tom+Chee? We’ll have them posted on our Facebook Page shortly!

Verdict: Tasty, if you can stand the mess

The food at Tom+Chee has loads of potential: the restaurant has a good concept and the Blueberry Bleu grilled donut is tasty. My Pesto + Turkey was alright flavor-wise but was dry as a stick and wasn’t made with sourdough bread as the menu stated.

The major downsides to this location are the overworked, unfriendly staff and the dirtiness of the restaurant as a whole. Lacking the staff to keep the paper towels stocked, clean the tables and sweep the floor it’s a nightmare during peak times. Maybe it’s better before or after the lunch rush, but I’m in no hurry to find out. We will give the Court St. location a shot – and review it separately.

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