A new carryout restaurant specializing in grilled cheese sandwiches opened this week in Mundelein -- and it's already proving to be a hit.
The aptly named GRIL began serving customers Wednesday in an industrial park at 403 Washington Blvd., Suite 11. Thanks to grass-roots social media promotion, first-day sales were double what owner Paul Patricelli expected.
"It was overwhelming," said Patricelli, of Grayslake. "It really blew our minds."
Patricelli and his wife, Susan, launched GRIL more than a year ago as a home-based catering company. The name is an acronym for Gratitude, Respect, Integrity and Local.
For Patricelli, "local" means purchasing many ingredients from suburban businesses or from family-run operations out of the area.
A former real estate broker, Patricelli said the menu features gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches in part because they're simple to make.
Plus, he said, "we all have these warm and fuzzy feelings about grilled cheese sandwiches growing up."
Sandwiches include: the Nana, which features Brie, butterkase cheese and apricot preserves on French bread; the Grayslaker, which puts Colby and Muenster cheeses between two pieces of pretzel bread; and the Antny, which features mozzarella and fontina cheeses, tomato chutney and fresh basil on Italian bread.
"We try to elevate and use some classic flavor combinations," Patricelli said.
Michelle Wheeler was one of the opening-day customers, and she's already hooked. She and her son shared The Regulator, a sandwich featuring multigrain bread, white cheddar and Muenster cheeses, an artichoke spread and baby spinach.
"It had lots a flavor and the ingredient combination was well-thought-out," Wheeler said. "Even my somewhat picky child enjoyed it."
If you want something more than a sandwich, GRIL also serves homemade coleslaw and three-bean salad. Soups and cookies are available, too.
GRIL joins a growing roster of popular, independently owned restaurants in Mundelein. Other relatively new entries include The Eating Hub, In and Out BBQ, and Tina G's.
GRIL is open from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. It's closed Sundays and Mondays.