The Cheesesteak to Save Them All: Pressed Panino, Gyros, & Cheese Steaks at Pressed
Down Southeast 6th Street, toward the end of the busy shops in downtown Grants Pass, sits an unassuming little red trailer. I would imagine many locals don’t yet know that this little red trailer is their future favorite lunch spot. After all, Pressed started slinging their sandwichy goods just over two months ago. But in that time, people are already catching on to the buzz about the food here, and patronage is ever rising. I took the drive from Medford yesterday just to have a taste for myself.
I have to be honest, I’m leery of cheesesteaks. Not because I dislike them. On the contrary, I love a good cheesesteak sandwich as well as most things that even loosely resemble the formula for a cheesesteak sandwich. It’s the disappointment of throwaway, lazy cheesesteak sandwiches that has caused my skepticism. For every good one I’ve had, I’ve had at least three which suffered from old bread, chewy or dry meat, and telltale grease puddles. I think most readers know the struggle. Well Zack, the owner of Pressed, must have heard our cries.
Unlike many food cart/truck establishments, Pressed boasts an impressively sized menu. There are seven (no joke, seven) varieties of cheesesteak sandwiches alone. There’s the “Bathtub Gin” with cheese whiz style cheese made from scratch, mushroom, bell peppers, fried onions, sweet peppers, and banana peppers. Then the “Stash the Gumbo” with andouille sausage, salami, cheddar, gouda, bell pepper, fried onion, and cajun remoulade. On a cheesesteak. That’s just a nibble of the options.
While visiting Pressed, I got to taste the “Runaway Jim,” the “Fuego,” and the “Jigsaw Earth.” All three were delicious.
The Runaway is a standard style cheesesteak with incredibly tender, perfectly seasoned Philly style steak. The bread was soft but not breaking, the homemade cheese whiz on point. It’s everything a cheesesteak should be, and made with care. No pools of grease with this beautiful philly. It definitely showed me that the food here is treated with love and consideration.
The Fuego is a spicy panini with seasoned, shaved chicken, thick bacon, gouda, provolone, onion, peppers, jalapeno, and house made chipotle aioli. It brought the heat in the best possible way and had that same, perfectly treated and tenderized meat as the cheesesteak (though obviously, chicken).
And the Jigsaw Earth gyro made this former vegetarian very happy. The soft, warm flatbread filled with fresh tahini, wilted spinach and arugula, veggies, and Kalamata olives is a perfect choice for a lighter meal still packed with flavor and comfort food appeal.
In talking with owner Zack, I was surprised to learn of the amazing journey he and his young family have taken with this food. Essentially all of the town of Paradise was lost in the deadly 2018 Camp Fire, and Zack’s family home was part of this sweeping loss. In Paradise, he ran a wildly successful woodfire pizza trailer which also burned. I can’t imagine losing so many treasured parts of your life at once, but they picked up the pieces and moved on to eventually find a new home here in the Rogue Valley. Zack strikes me as a kind, on-the-level person with a passion for elevating and updating simple foods with primo ingredients. And he obviously doesn’t give up easy. With Pressed thriving, he’s having a second trailer built out to bring back that woodfired pizza from Paradise. Be on the lookout for the upcoming Catalyst Pizza Company, and have yourself a cheesesteak while you wait.
11am – 7pm, Monday – Friday
619 SE 6th St, Grants Pass