As seen on TV: Tom + Chee grills up cheese in Omaha

Editor’s Note: This location is closed. The owners now have a Tom+Chee food truck.


Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese at Tom+Chee

This isn’t your mom’s grilled cheese. Unless, she added some hummus, diced tomatoes or potato chips to the sandwich for a barbecue flavor. Tom and Chee combines a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches with a spin on tomato soup.

Omaha is the newest home to a Tom + Chee restaurant. Opening today, Tom + Chee is located in northwest Omaha, near 145th and Maple Streets. Matt and Lyndsay Ruma are the franchise owners and are excited about the restaurant’s opportunity.

Tom+Chee Omaha

Tom + Chee grew from the founders’ interest in food and running their own business. Trew Quackenbush basically grew up in the restaurant business. He started his first kitchen job at age 15. After working his way up and around in the industry, he sought to run his own business. Partner Corey Ward was an entrepreneur, with a knack for art, design and pop culture.

The duo met at a barbecue. They talked and realized they wanted the same things. This was the start of Tom + Chee. They thought of the concept using grilled cheese. The rest seemed to flow for them.

Starting with the original location in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, the chain has grown to about 30 restaurants across the United States. Besides the new Omaha location, Tom + Chee also opened an eatery in downtown Lincoln.

Bright colors enhance the interior decor at Tom+Chee Omaha

The company started in 2009. They duo took their dream to national TV. They appeared on ABC’s “Shark Tank” in 2013. The show features entrepreneurs who market their ideas in hopes that one of the show’s members – all successful business people – will invest in their business. Barbara Corcoran chose to invest in the company.

Tom + Chee has been featured in other shows. Adam Richman tried their menu on “Man vs. Food Nation.”

We had the opportunity to take part in a media event at the restaurant, prior to the official opening. My daughter Mallory joined me in trying soup and sandwich samples. The samples were plentiful and delicious.

Many different concoctions of tomato soup and grilled cheese at Tom+Chee

The sandwiches have cute names, such as Ham and Chee, Classic Grilled Chee (basic cheese), Tom + Chee, Flying Pig, Mac + Chee and Hippy Chee.

Grilled cheese options are many on different breads and different fillings

The soups are basic – basic tomato, creamy tomato, chunky tomato, bleu cheese chili and a soup of the day.

Tomato soups come in basic, creamy and more

Mallory started with the creamy tomato soup and bleu cheese chili. I also had the chili, but added chunky tomato soup. The soups are excellent. I told Mallory that the creamy tomato reminded me of my childhood, when my mom would add milk to the soup. My mom and dad both worked at Campbell Soup, so we always had soup in the house. Tomato has remained my favorite soup.

Mallory and I had samples of 12 sandwiches. Before you judge us (LOL), we tried a bite of each small sandwich. We had to keep from getting full early on. The sandwiches ranged from a classic grilled cheese to a spicy grilled cheese sandwich.

Mallory’s favorite sandwiches were the Classic American Chee and the Tom + Chee. The Tom + Chee consists of cheddar and mozzarella cheese with diced tomatoes added, along with garlic seasoning. It was served on sourdough bread. The kicker here is that Mallory doesn’t care for tomatoes, but she really liked this sandwich.


My favorite sandwiches were the Ham + Chee and the Flying Pig. The Ham + Chee included American cheese and pickles on white bread. The Flying Pig had turkey, bacon, Gouda and pickles on sourdough.

We both also enjoyed the Mac + Chee. It had cheddar cheese and was served on white bread. We agreed that we might add a meat to the sandwich to give it a little more taste. I liked it the way it was served, as well.


The Hippy Chee came with hummus, cucumbers, mixed greens, tomato and cheddar on white bread. It’s basically a salad on bread. It was very good. I actually had two bites of it.

Hippy Chee Grilled Cheese at Tom+Chee

If your tastes border on hot and spicy, Tom + Chee can satisfy that. We tried the Hot and Spicy. Mallory was out after the first bite. I took a couple of bites. It came with pepperoni, cherry peppers, onions and pepper jack cheese on wheat bread.

Hot & Spicy Grilled Cheese at Tom + Chee

If you’ve ever thought about making a grilled cheese sandwich with a donut, don’t bother. Instead, just go to Tom + Chee. You can’t make anything in the kitchen that can come close to what they make in their kitchen.

They have nine options of grilled donuts. Mallory loved the grilled cheese donut. It was ooey gooey goodness of cheddar cheese on a glazed donut. The donut is grilled with the glaze in the middle. It creates a sweet taste with the cheddar cheese. I enjoyed my donut, as well. I can’t argue her choice for overall favorite sandwich.

Classic Cheese Grilled Donut at Tom+Chee

We had a S’more donut that rivaled the real thing. It came with chocolate pieces, marshmallow, mascarpone, graham cracker between a sliced glazed donut. It was excellent.

Smore Grilled Donut at Tom+Chee

Matt Ruma recommended we try the Strawberry Lemonade donut when we visited earlier in the evening. So, a server asked us if we wanted to try anything else, so we thought capping our visit with that donut would be apropos. The donut came with freshly sliced strawberries, lemon mascarpone and mozzarella. Matt was spot on! That was an awesome choice to cap our dining experience.

Strawberry Lemonade Grilled Donut at Tom+Chee

Tom + Chee has an eating contest for customers. The “Baker’s Dozen” challenges a customer to eat 13 grilled donuts. You eat 12 grilled cheese donuts. The 13th is a fancy one. If you finish them in one sitting (no restroom break allowed), you eat for free. Fail, and you are paying about $30 for the meal.

Baker's Dozen Challenge at Tom and Chee

Oh, if you like salads, they do have a variety to choose from.

We have already planned a return trip for lunch. Tom + Chee should be on everyone’s list of Omaha restaurants to dine at. We recommend you take mom. Her grilled cheese sandwiches and soup will never be the same.

For more information on the Omaha Tom + Chee, check out their Facebook page at

For more information on the company, please visit

Disclaimer: Thank you to Tom + Chee Omaha for the media event invitation. However, all opinions and views are ours.