MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WDTV) - Lawton Parnell has been working in kitchens his whole life.
The buffalo chicken dip grilled cheese sandwich, at Cheese Louise.
"When you do that, you get a chance to experiment," he said.
Grilled cheese, the ooey, gooey, toasty and cheesy childhood meal, is one of Lawton's favorites; especially, when paired, with a hot cup of soup.
"Any reason to eat tomato soup is definitely why I love grilled cheeses," said Lawton.
When he finally saw an opportunity, Lawton turned his passion for cooking and love of grilled cheese into a business.
"The space is perfect so we really went with it, once we got the opportunity," he said.
Cheese Louise opened in Morgantown in March of this year and already, the cozy little sandwich shop has been a hit with locals.
"It's different, it definitely fills a niche in the town for comfort foods, grilled cheese and soups," said customer Dan Santangelo.
Santangelo continued, "Now that winter is coming up, I feel like I'm definitely going to be eating a lot of it."
The restaurant serves classic grilled cheese, as well as fun flavors like a pepperoni roll grilled cheese and a buffalo chicken dip sandwich.
"I love the buffalo chicken dip grilled cheese; it's my go-to every time I come here," said Santangelo.
They also serve a variety of homemade soups like Italian Wedding and Tomato.
"My favorite is my mom's gumbo," Lawton said. "Every now and then I can get her to come down here and make it; she won't give me the recipe though, so that's why I have to get her to come down."
What's the secret to a great grilled cheese? Lawton attributes his perfectly toasted sandwiches to fresh, thick-cut bread from a Pittsburgh bakery, and spreading a mixture of butter and mayonnaise on each side of the bread before toasting.
Lawton told me the goal of Cheese Louise is to make people feel at home and to share creative new recipes with the community.
"It just gives you a chance to be a creative and it's always nice to see someone's reaction; it makes you feel good," said Lawton.
What's next for Cheese Louise? Lawton said now, he's focusing on getting more college students in his customer base. Another big step for the sandwich shop: competing in the 'Hops on the Mon' Grilled Cheese Competition.
Lawton explained, "They picked 10 different restaurants to compete and thankfully they picked us. It's September 24th down at the Marriott; we'd love for people to come out and vote for Cheese Louise, or at least give us a try."