If you have a grilled cheese emergency, new entrepreneur William Rizzo has the cure.
He has turned an old ambulance into a unique food truck that has been delivering grilled cheese to area residents for about two weeks.
“It’s one-of-a-kind, as far as I know,” he said of the food truck, which he transformed himself.
Through his new business called Grilled Cheese Emergency, Rizzo aims to bring local, fresh and affordable food to Chattanooga residents who otherwise might spend $5 on fast food.
Sandwich prices start at $3.50, and customers can get a sandwich, side and a drink for $5-$7, he said.
And while many food trucks congregate downtown, Rizzo is branching out and stopping at businesses and places such as Shallowford Commons and Highland Baptist on Highway 58 in Harrison.
“A huge part of my business plan is serving the community,” he said. “There are so many more hungry mouths [in places other] than downtown.”
So far, people are hearing about his business through word of mouth, and he’s playing location choice by ear and using trial and error. People have been approaching him and asking him to come to certain locations, he said.
Rizzo said he grew up in his Italian grandmother’s kitchen and has worked in fine dining his entire life. He has a passion for food and “tinkering.”
During a Skype party, his family encouraged him to pursue the food truck idea.
So he started looking for a truck, and a friend who lives in “the middle-of-nowhere” North Carolina saw an ambulance at an auction, Rizzo said.
The friend, a mechanical engineer, went to check out the ambulance for Rizzo.
“He said I had to buy it, and the price was right,” Rizzo said.
Rizzo transformed the ambulance himself, tearing everything out of the back and installing plumbing and electrical.
How did he settle on the idea of grilled cheese? Well, that’s simple.
“Who doesn’t like grilled cheese?” he said.
With the exception of people who are lactose-intolerant or have gluten allergies, most people appreciate the classic item, he said.
“I feel like grilled cheese has always transcended any cultural boundaries,” he said.
There is already one grilled cheese truck in town. It’s calledThe Muenster Truck, but Rizzo said the more food trucks, the better.
Opening the business has been a humbling experience, Rizzo also said.
He is manning the truck on his own but has gotten a lot of support and help from family and friends, he said.
And from his point of view, any goal is reachable if you work hard for it.
“I don’t know if the American dream is alive and well, but it sure isn’t dead,” he said.