City council asked to approve $240 thousand for Tom & Chee expansion

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati City Council is being asked to approve tax credits worth $240 thousand for local dining chain Tom & Chee. The company's founders plan to create dozens of jobs and move into a larger space downtown.

Last year, Tom & Chee Restaurants generated about $5 million in sales, equal to about 100-thousand grilled cheese sandwiches. This is pretty impressive growth for a company that started in a tent on Fountain Square.

"It's been really crazy for us since we started," explains co-founder Corey Ward. "We started in a tent in December of 2009 and 363 days later we opened our first store and six months after that we had our second store and things really started to snowball after that."

Tom & Chee has been featured on the Travel Channel's Man V. Food, Good Eats and even Shark Tank.

"It's been a pretty incredible experience since then," adds Ward. "After we did the show, we've had over 15-thousand requests for franchises all over the country and all over the world."

Ward says the requests come from every corner of the globe.

"Fun places like Ireland, the Czech Republic, Philippines, Vietnam, United Arab Emirates and Dubai. The whole world right now seems to be embracing grilled cheese," explains Ward.

With all that growth the company is now looking to move their headquarters to a building on Reece Street downtown.

"The marketing department is growing," explains co-founder Trew Quackenbush. "Operations and training - It'll provide us with a place to have our test kitchen, commissary and training facilities."

Ward says the secret to their success is providing quality comfort food at a reasonable price

At their new headquarters, they plan to have a 'Grilled Cheese University' to train employees and their franchisees.

Interim City Manager Scott Stiles is asking the mayor and city council to approve the seven-year tax credit. Council's budget and finance committee is expected to consider the proposal February 5.

The company plans to spend about $500 thousand dollars to equip and build out the new office space.

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