“Cheese is one of man kind’s greatest achievements,” says Lyle Puente about the inspiration for Put Some Meat On Your Bones, his popular grilled cheese and panini food truck, which opened in Yorktown Heights earlier this year. Most would probably agree with that sentiment, which could explain why Meat On Your Bones has quickly become one of the area’s hottest new spots. Or it could be because Puente really knows how to put his love of cheese to work.
The purveyor only uses fresh, deli-sliced Land O’Lakes American with fresh bread from Rockland Bakery for his classic grilled cheese, and A&M Bronx Baking bread for his panini.
But then he mixes it up too, offering items like his 6 Cheese Blend with fresh apple slices and coriander seed; the Mother Cabrini (mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes, and fresh basil grown on the truck), and a prosciutto and provolone panini. The most enticing might be his Mac and Cheese, comprised of homemade macaroni and cheese pressed between two slices of cheese bread. And his grilled cheeses are prepared on a flat top grill with a domed cast-iron lid so the orange stuff doesn’t ooze out the sides.
The panini gets a nice, hard press that gives it a nice, buttery crunchy crust while maintaining the thick bread’s fluffy center. “I really press it,” Puente confirms, saying he approaches the craft “like it’s the sandwich Olympics.”
In total, there are 12 different options that ensure the truck lives up to its motto, and each sandwich is about twice the size of mom’s classic Wonder bread version, making it a substantial meal. Though if you’re seeking other childhood comfort foods, Puente also sells hot dogs, chili cheese dogs and grilled cheese hot dogs. Sandwich prices range from $4 to $7 and come with a heap of potato chips.
“My grandmother taught me to be the Italian matriarch of the family,” he says, explaining his love for cooking and taking care of others. But Puente is a man of many talents, including work as a professional animal handler on the side. (“I’ve put snakes on Madonna and puppies on super models.”) He also has a strong artistic background, owns a degree from the Pratt Institute, and runs a recording studio out of his home.
“I would always cook for people before we rehearsed,” he recalls of his formative time making music. “It seemed like a really great way to live life.”
Puente operates his food truck every day from 11:30 am-4 pm and plans to be serving grilled cheese until “the day I die.”
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