Say Cheese! The Grilled Cheese Girls

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth McGrady '16 | Gigi Ross ’16 and Olivia Mallari ’16, came up with the idea for Grilled Cheese Girls while in the company of friends one night.

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth McGrady ’16 | Gigi Ross ’16 and Olivia Mallari ’16, came up with the idea for Grilled Cheese Girls while in the company of friends one night.


Michelle S. Lee ’16

They’re athletes. They’re entrepreneurs. To their customers, they’re late-night delivery heroes. They’re the Grilled Cheese Girls (GCG).

Olivia Mallari ’16 and Gigi Ross ’16 first came up with the idea for their business venture while hanging out with friends late at night and snacking on homemade grilled cheese sandwiches.

“Though neither of us had ever started a business before, we sort of looked at each other with this look — like why aren’t we selling these and making a profit off of them? Shortly afterwards, we decided to take the idea and actually make it happen,” Mallari said.

The pair set out planning for the GCG earlier this spring semester, developing a Facebook page for communicating with the student body and creating an online ordering system for customers to access. To test their products, Mallari and Ross experimented with ingredients and sampled different menus on their teammates and classmates. The GCG officially opened on the night of Feb. 6, offering orders from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., and the pair received so many orders they ran out of stock by 2 a.m.

“Gigi and I actually didn’t start advertising until a few hours before opening day, so considering that, we did very well our first night,” Mallari said.

The GCG has grown since its beginnings facing obstacles along the way. On recent delivery nights, the duo receives about 25 orders every hour and a half.

“It’s been tough predicting how much to buy on any given day, so we usually just err on the side of caution in order to not waste ingredients,” Mallari said.

It is no wonder the GCG has been met with the success it has been enjoying – most nights offer a creative sampler of grilled cheese sandwiches. Students can mix and match their sandwich with an assortment of toppings, such as bacon, baby arugula and apple slices, for an extra cost, or choose one of  the nightly specials available. The most popular additions have included bacon and avocado. Mallari and Ross have also been experimenting with sweet specials, such as the Grilled Fluffernutter sandwich, that have also been a hit.

Due to a high demand for the sandwich during late-night hours, Mallari and Ross enlisted the help of classmates.

“Liz McGrady ’16 take awesome pictures of our work so that we could add them to our website. We had to enlist the help of our friends, Tia Karapoulios ’16 and Annabel Calhoun ’16, to help in the production line because Gigi and I just couldn’t keep up with the high demand.”

Mallari and Ross note that their enterprise is mostly to share their product, indicating that the revenue only accounts for a little more than the cost of the food.  Each sandwich costs four dollars with pickup and Quad delivery.

“Even on ‘slow’ nights, it’s worth it to us because we’re having fun and making/eating something we both love!” Mallari said.  “It’s definitely been a lot of fun to see GCG slowly gain a following and how much Smithies have enjoyed eating our food.”

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