Food Network contestant launches grilled cheese food truck and restaurant in St. Pete

Talk about doubling down in Tampa Bay's growing food scene.


UPDATED: 03/11/20 2:38 p.m.

Last March, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay met "Beat Bobby Flay" contestant Robert Hesse who told us about Urban Melt, a grilled cheese concept that was supposed to take over the former China City location in St. Petersburg's Crescent Lake Neighborhood.

Since then, the space at 1221 4th St. N. was claimed by Chicken Salad Chick, a concept totally unaffiliated with Hesse. 

Although Urban Melt didn't pan out, Hesse is launching his grilled cheese vision with two projects: a 30-foot food truck, plus a full-service restaurant, called Fo'Cheezy Twisted Meltz.

The opening celebration of the Fo'Cheezy truck—complete with live entertainment and giveaways—goes down on Wednesday, March 18 from 5 p.m.-11 p.m. at Flying Boat Brewing Co., located at 1776 11th Ave. N. in St. Pete's North Kenwood neighborhood.

Hesse's full-service restaurant—at 6305 Gulf Blvd. on St. Pete Beach—opens a few weeks later on National Grilled Cheese Day. You can't miss it, either; the brick-and-mortar has been decked out with graffiti and a massive boom box mural by the Vitale Bros.

FO'CHEEZY FOOD TRUCK/ FACEBOOK
FO'CHEEZY FOOD TRUCK/ FACEBOOK

Hesse—also a contestant on seasons five and six of the hit Fox series "Hell’s Kitchen"—is keeping his plate extra full, too. In a release, Hesse said that he's set to appear on "Inside Edition" which is covering his "No Kid 86'd" nonprofit. Hesse has promised to donate 2% of his restaurant's gross sales to "the troubled youth of the greater Tampa Bay area."

Hesse joins Fabio Viviani and "Top Chef" contestant Jeffrey Jew on a list celebrity chefs nailing down concepts in Tampa Bay. Won't be much longer until we get a taste of those loaded grilled cheese creations.


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