Our Story

Gayle V's Best Ever Grilled Cheese is a member of the Chicago Loop Alliance. We started at the Green City Market in 2010 at the Prairie Pure Cheese booth. I was selling cheese at the market and thought since there was fresh baked bread right next to me (Bennison's Bakery from Evanston, IL) and fresh butter on the other side of the market (Nordic Creamery from Westby, WI) and I had the best cheese for melting, maybe I should make grilled cheese. And so it began. I only use Prairie Pure Cheese from Belvidere, IL.

Let me tell you a little about how I came to be a cheese vendor at the market. I had a home based bookkeeping business Brian J. Gerloff, DVM, PhD was one of my clients. Brian had a large animal veterinary practice in Northern Illinois and had noticed a dramatic decline in the number of dairy farms. He wanted to do something to help sustain at least one farm so he partnered up with one of his clients, Todd and Brenda Aves in Belvidere, IL, (a 100 year old dairy farm with 90 cows) and started Prairie Pure Cheese. When Brian sold his practice and no longer needed a bookkeeper, he asked if I would like to be the sales rep, market vendor and delivery person for Prairie Pure Cheese. Since I had filled in at the market a few times for him, (and absolutely loved it), I said sure! I was doing 2 markets at the time, (3 days), and now do 3 markets.

Not only did the cheese sustain the Aves' farm, but they put up a new barn and added cows to their herd. Grilled cheese with a purpose! They now are using milk from  Hildebrandt Family Farms.


Our Journey

What started as a bookkeeper selling cheese at a local farmers market has blossomed into Gayle V's Best Ever Grilled Cheese - a gourmet sandwich shop supporting more than 24 local businesses and farmers.

2009: Gayle begins selling Prairie Pure Cheese at farmers' markets around Chicago.

2011: Gayle's Best Ever Grilled Cheese is born, selling Prairie Pure Cheese and the "Classic" grilled cheese at farmers' markets.

2013: With the sandwiches becoming increasingly more popular, Gayle focuses her attention on expanding the menu and selling sandwiches at markets, festivals, and small parties in the city.

2015: Gayle secures a seasonal space in the pedway of Block 37 to sell grilled cheese during the winter months when the markets aren't so busy.

2016: After the first successful winter, Gayle signs a lease to continue her stay in Block 37 pedway. Her name is trademarked to "Gayle V's Best Ever Grilled Cheese".

2020/2021: The pandemic certainly brought about some new challenges, but our Best Ever customers rallied and continued to show demand for grilled cheese. When a larger space opened up in the pedway, Gayle took advantage and moved into our current space.

"I hope you love it!"