This Week Our Featured Gem is “GourMelt Grilled Cheese Truck”~by Kimberly Hartman

Owners/Operators are Jessie Watnes and Haley Wood

Something new right here on….”Biggest Little Gems of Reno”…. Celebrating the Businesses, Organizations, and Individuals who dazzle the Reno/Sparks Area with Creativity, Kindness, and Hard Work….With cold weather quickly approaching, few comfort foods warm the body and soul like a hot, homemade grilled cheese sandwich. With its crisp, golden, buttery shell, and its hot, melted, ooey-gooey cheese center, the American classic has endured the test of time and remained a favorite of children and adults alike. Thanks to GourMelt Grilled Cheese Truck, those in Northern Nevada may now enjoy the beloved sandwich in a whole new way.

Those living in, or travelling through, the Reno/Sparks area have been noticing a brightly-colored, retro-themed chariot frequenting the streets. As the months go by, the vehicle seems to be growing a tail of cars: local devotees who follow it from location to location. This conspicuous automobile is a food truck named GourMelt, and it is filled with a seemingly never-ending inventory of fresh bread, fine cheeses, and high-quality, locally grown and locally crafted foods. When parked, all these elements combine to form a number of creatively delicious melts.

GourMelt is the brainchild of two Nevada natives, Jessie Watnes and Haley Wood, who both worked in the restaurant business for years before finally deciding to open their own mobile eatery. When asked why they chose Reno as the location for their ambitious endeavor, Jessie replied, “I love Reno. I’ve always loved Reno. There’s a good mix of people and different activities…I just think it is a perfectly diverse place to live and start a business.” Why, though, choose the modest grilled cheese sandwich as the focus of an entire restaurant? “You can just do so many things with it,” said Haley. “At first it just seems like bread and cheese, but really there are so many different combinations…cheeses and meats and different spreads.” It is true: with items such as The King, an Elvis-inspired melt consisting of peanut butter, bananas, and bacon, GourMelt groupies are learning to redefine a childhood favorite. Jessica Casey, a soon-to-be-21-year-old culinary student, and her mother, Judy Applegarth, are two such loyal patrons. While Judy laughs, “The GourMelt girls know me by name,” Jessica raves about the sweet potato fries. ”They are incredible!”

The mouth-watering food, however, is not the only contribution made to our biggest little city by Jessie and Haley through their locomotive luncheonette. “One of the greatest benefits which we didn’t really think about in our initial business plan is how much we have been able to help other businesses and organizations,” said Haley, in regards to the perks of a mobile restaurant, as opposed to a stationary establishment. “We have worked with the local Food Bank, the SPCA, and other non-profit organizations, as well as local businesses. When we are parked in front of a particular place, people come to us for the food, which helps us introduce those people to some great new businesses.” The girls also help support the local economy by purchasing local products for their truck. They serve (and sell!!) local eggs from, and their bread is baked at House of Bread Reno.
Long gone are the humble days of Wonder Bread and Kraft Singles; Mom’s simple grilled cheese has evolved into a gourmet, albeit mobile, dining experience. With an ever-evolving menu, catering options, and the promise to “fill your belly and melt your heart”, one meal from GourMelt Grilled Cheese Truck is sure to put a big, cheesy grin on any face!!

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