Photo courtesy of Tom & Chee.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back on a diet, Tom & Chee, an Ohio-based eatery famous for its grilled cheese donut, is coming to Pittsburgh.

The fast-casual joint is expected to open Downtown, adjacent to the MassMutal Pittsburgh Ice Rink at PPG Place, in October 2020. Its name comes from tomato (tom) and grilled cheese (chee).

A decade ago, the business operated under a pop-up tent outside of a Cincinnati ice skating rink. Things began to heat up when the idea was pitched to investors on ABC’s “Shark Tank” in 2013. Shark Barbara Corcoran backed the brand, which, in addition to its decadent dessert, specializes in gooey melts, creamy soups and fresh salads.

It’s become a foodie phenomenon, appearing on other shows such as “The Chew,” “Man v. Food Nation,” “Amazing Eats” and “The Today Show.”

Photo courtesy of Tom & Chee.

Pittsburgh franchisee Bryon Sharp and his partner Brad Holland can’t wait to warm people up after they’ve made a few dozen laps around the rink.

“We are thrilled to join the Tom & Chee family and work with a franchise we believe in,” Sharp says. “There’s nothing better than watching families have a good time together and serving them delicious hot melts and soup after a day out skating on the ice will significantly enhance our customer experience.”

They’ll offer the same kind of service year-round.

Photo courtesy of Tom & Chee.

Bestselling menu items include The Bacon Mac & Chee Melt with cheddar, mozzarella, bacon and mac and cheese, and the Cubano Melt, which is loaded with Swiss, ham, pork, pickles and sweet hot mustard. If you’re still gung-ho about your New Year’s weight loss resolution by the fall, Tom & Chee also offers the Green Goat Salad, a mix of greens, goat cheese, toasted almonds, chicken, croutons and Balsamic dressing.

GSR Brands, parent organization of Tom & Chee, is looking to open numerous locations throughout Pittsburgh.

Kristy Locklin

Kristy Locklin is a North Hills-based writer. When she's not busy reporting, she enjoys watching horror movies and exploring Pittsburgh's craft beer scene.