Who Invented Grilled Cheese?

Who Invented Grilled Cheese? An In-Depth Look

The origins of the grilled cheese sandwich are fairly documented, tracing back to the innovation of a single individual. Interestingly, this person isn’t called “Grilled Cheese,” even though the name has stuck to the sandwich, leading to its widespread popularity and availability in numerous eateries as the Grilled Cheese Sandwich. This individual goes by the name of Fred. But it’s not the Fred you might be thinking of. By now, if you’re still reading, it should be clear that the gentleman in question is Fred Harvey. Yes, the creator of the grilled cheese sandwich is none other than Fred Harvey himself. It was in the late 1800s when he chose to introduce this now-iconic dish at his dining establishment, the Harvey House.

Who Invented Grilled Cheese?

In 1885, Mr. Fredrick C. Harvey built a hotel in El Paso, Texas. At this point, he didn’t have a restaurant in El Paso; rather, he sold saddles and took in horses for drovers. But in 1884, one of his saddles broke, and he decided to set up a restaurant. The first Harvey House opened in 1885. A few years later, in 1888, the restaurant had become a popular draw for travelers, which became even more so in 1888, when a horsecar line was added that went from El Paso to Tucson. The downtown Harvey House was located on the corner of Railroad Avenue and Main Street, which was also known as Walnut Street. (For those wondering, the Harvey House used to be at 1347 Walnut Street.) The Walnut Street location was destroyed in the historic 1893 El Paso earthquake.

The Story Behind The Grilled Cheese Sandwich

With help from his sister-in-law, Fred and brother-in-law James served grilled cheese sandwiches at Harvey House between 1886 and 1917. According to the short restaurant history, “The grilled cheese sandwich was so successful that it was sold by the truckload to travelers, extending the breakfast menu beyond eggs and coffee.” By 1887, there were three Harvey House restaurants in Chicago: at 173 West Madison, 155 South Michigan, and 110 West Washington. In 1917, the last of these three opened a fourth location at 1 South Michigan, and later moved it in 1972 to its current location. (It was the third Harvey House, from 1887 to 1911, that was located at the Chicago Fulton Market.) Today, the Harvey House is well-known for the Harvey’s Famous Chili.

Why Fred Harvey?

When you consider the fact that Fred Harvey was one of the most innovative restaurant owners of the time, it makes sense that he would make this discovery. The popularity of the grilled cheese sandwich isn’t exactly the kind of revelation that comes out of the blue. Besides, what does it matter who invented it if people are always going to want to eat one? The future of the grilled cheese sandwich In the comments of the LA Times article, commenter “Norris” has an interesting theory that suggests the grilled cheese sandwich might be done in for good. Norris suggests that the grilled cheese sandwich, while still beloved by many, might eventually have a more modern-day counterpart. That suggestion is the grilled cheese sub.

Why the name Grilled Cheese Sandwich?

The sandwich itself was first invented in the United States by a man named Charles Lebauer, who debuted his version in Washington, D.C. The grilled cheese sandwich was his creation, and the first one he served to the public was this sandwich: Lebauer sold his grilled cheese sandwiches at the corner of the 14th and G streets in Washington. However, rather than inventing this sandwich, Lebauer simply found a popular recipe that was already out there. The main difference between Lebauer’s version and the original is that Lebauer used to toast the bread rather than simply toasting it. So, where did the name “Grilled Cheese Sandwich” originate? Well, as far as we know, there’s no real direct correlation between the name “Grilled Cheese Sandwich” and the restaurant in Washington, D.C.


Whether or not you like the grilled cheese sandwich, it’s a tasty and easy snack to make at home. Do it yourself grilled cheese is always more delicious and filling than the grilled cheese that you buy from the grocery store. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be making the best grilled cheese sandwiches ever. I had never tried to make grilled cheese until a few months ago. I was at a farmers market with my kids, and it was cold out, so we got food from the food truck parked there. They had the usual lineups, and these burgers looked awesome. But we had to eat what we had, so we settled for French fries. That burger looked pretty good, too. We both really like grilled cheese, and I had found a great recipe online, so I thought I’d try it out for my grilled cheese party.

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