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Underground Grilled Cheese Market Thriving on the Lower East Side

By Della Hasselle | August 2, 2010 9:56am | Updated on August 2, 2010 12:22pm
"Ronnie" makes his grilled cheese sandwiches with a variety of ingredients, like American or Gouda cheese, jalapenos, crushed black pepper or tomatoes.
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By Della Hasselle

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN — One New Yorker has successfully started his own black market — with grilled cheese sandwiches.

The underground chef takes orders by text message and cooks the sandwiches in his brother’s East Village apartment before hand delivering them to hungry customers on street corners, according to the New York Post.

The secret to his sandwiches, which go for between $5 and $7 depending on ingredients used, is grilling them in unsalted butter before wrapping them in foil and putting them in a 500-degree oven to get them extra crispy, the paper reported.

The cook, who calls himself “Ronnie” out of fear that he will be discovered by the Health Department, has become so popular that he can barely keep up with his 40-customer base and is thinking of packing it in, the Post reported.

His customers, however, aren’t ready for him to quit the black market business just yet.

“The sound the sandwich makes when you bite into it is incredible," customer Lia Strassler told the Post about her American cheese, tomato and ground pepper sandwich. "There’s a crisp buttered top, and then the bread is soft and the cheese strings out. It’s better than any grilled cheese my mom ever made.”