Motif has introduced a new sort of Locale: Food Truck Profiles! We’re looking at a new food truck each month leading into the warmer months when food truck season officially begins.
I still remember the day when it hit me like a freight train. I was struggling in front of the mirror to stick a small piece of plastic into my eye to help me see. That’s when I realized, Dude, they call them contacts because they contact your eye. I had a nearly identical blonde moment when, weeks after hearing the name and about a day after finally eating at the grilled cheese focused food truck with a wrestling-theme called “Championship Melt” that it hit me: Championship Melt…Championship Belt.
The truck itself is a 1994 Ford E-350 converted and doused with bright shade of yellow. It’s easy to spot even at one of its several late-night destinations in the area (most notable are likely E&O Tap and the Scurvy Dog, routes that were picked up when Poco Loco decided to focus more on the restaurant route). Their branding includes the face of a masked luchador ripping a grilled cheese sandwich in half; the exertion on his face comes off as hilarious because it looks like a muscled macho man ripping a phonebook in half…except it’s grilled cheese.
They boast “wacked out crazy combos” with options for vegans, lactose intolerants and those with a gluten allergy. As a member of the second category, I’m often a bit hesitant to go for grilled cheese in my everyday life, but was pleasantly surprised to find that Championship Melt offers far more than your run-of-the-mill grilled cheese. You can call each of their primary items a grilled cheese only by technicality; you get two pieces of buttered and toasted bread with some kind of cheese in between.
But they have items like the Spirit Dragon, with pepperjack, blue cheese and breaded buffalo chicken that is basically a pressed buffalo chicken sandwich, which is the delightful late-night choice of many a drunkard, myself included. I had one during a recent late-night venture to Scurvy Dog in Providence on a Saturday night with an ice-cold Budweiser. I was trying to make Peyton Manning proud. My companion opted for the Hall of Famer, a straightforward classic-style grilled cheese with American and cheddar cheese. Both sandwiches had the perfect amount of crisp to them with a nice, buttery bread, looking nearly identical.
Those “wacked out crazy combos” come from melts like the Vader, which has cheddar, peanut butter, bacon and Sriracha with an optional honey add-on. Or there’s the Piledriver, which includes pepperjack, beef & bean chili and Fritos with a fried egg add-on. Nuts, huh?
I got the opportunity to chat with owner and chief head honcho Drew Cordeiro, whose Twitter profile (@drewcordeiro) reads: “Legendary independent wrestling commentator. Eater of foods,” which I sort of love. Drew explained that the bread was from Superior Bakery in Cranston and the cheeses from New Vermont in Providence.
Drew doesn’t just head up this food truck — long before he was also the big boss at Beyond Wrestling, an immensely popular wrestling group in the area. It all started for Drew there: “I’ve always wanted to run a professional wrestling business — that’s been a lifelong dream.”
Beyond Wrestling started in May 2009 in Ohio as what Drew calls “basically a fight club with no fans in attendance.” The gist of it was that wrestlers could wrestle each other and get feedback immediately from others. In that way, the quality of the performances grew and grew until a fanbase developed that allowed the group to start running live events.
Now Beyond Wrestling draws huge crowds, and the local events just relocated to Aurora downtown. For about a year, the former owner of Championship Melt piggybacked on the Beyond Wrestling events by parking outside and feeding many of the hungry wrestlers and fans. Much like how breweries and other events across the country attract food trucks, Drew explained that “a lot of wrestling shows across the country have started doing this with food trucks.” In September 2014, Drew bought Championship Melt from the business’s former owner, and forged a tiered business of sorts. “The two work hand in hand. The truck is used to get out promotional materials to places that my wrestling business couldn’t reach otherwise.”
He drew an interesting comparison (yeah, I went there), between the wrestling and food trucks scenes: “I really like the cooperative aspect of food trucks as opposed to the intensely competitive nature of wrestling. Food trucks help each other out a lot.” He told me stories about how helpful food trucks can be with one another, even at events where they might be competing for business. The demand is high enough that they’re all better off sharing spare parts and working together to build a community.
To learn more about Championship Melt, find them on Twitter: @ChampMelt or Facebook at facebook.com/ChampionshipMelt. To see the current locations of rocket, Championship Melt and other local food trucks, visit motifri.com/food-truck-locator, brought to you by FoodTrucksIn RI (foodtrucksin.com), a Providence-based company allowing users to find food trucks in over 1,300 cities nationwide.