Every Tiger knows there’s never a dull moment in Tigerland, and The Big Cheezy food truck now has a front row seat to those not-so-silent nights.
Co-owner Jason Harbison mans the new The Big Cheezy food truck in Tigerland, where the Baton Rouge community can try grilled cheese-based dishes like the fan favorite “Mac N’ Cheezy” or the “Crawgator.”
“Not your typical grilled cheese, but still a grilled cheese at heart,” Harbison said.
Harbison got into food when he was an undergraduate at Tulane and met co-owner Thomas Jacobs selling cheese fries at F&M’s in New Orleans.
“Selling cheesy food to kids late night at bars is something it feels like we’ve been doing our entire adult lives now,” Harbison said.
Harbison is an alumnus of the University’s law school. He is a licensed Louisiana attorney, but he said he would rather sell grilled cheese in Tigerland than practice law.
“You’ll always see us linger in the window and try to watch people take that first bite and either get that smile or the head nod and that instant gratification of giving somebody what they needed in that moment,” Harbison said. “When I was a lawyer, you’d take years to reconcile a case or to get a final judgement, and I’m handing out good news in five minutes in a grilled cheese truck.”
Harbison said the plan for the growth of The Big Cheezy isn’t set. The owners plan to grow alongside Baton Rouge and take the opportunities as they come, and Harbison emphasized working with the community to grow.
“The management team at Fred’s, Reggie’s and the House and the other bars in Tigerland have been very welcoming, cooperative,” Harbison said. “It’s always nice to see other small business owners helping each other, and that’s definitely what we’ve got going right now.”
Harbison said the location gives The Big Cheezy access to the late-night crowd, puts them in a big parking lot for easy access during lunchtime and was also the right place for students and the community alike to have a chance to find them.
“It just fits,” Harbison said. “Whenever you’re going to be out in Tigerland, you either need to sober up a little bit or fill up a little bit and build a good foundation for what you’re about to go do. Our menu fits both needs.”
Harbison and his partners also chose to open the truck in Tigerland because most of them have a connection to either the University or Baton Rouge.
“LSU is more than the fancy buildings and stadiums and the good times,” Harbison said. “The people at LSU come from everywhere and from a lot of different walks, so in my time there I got to see a lot of stories and learned a lot from other people. I think those lessons help me every day, both making small decisions in the business and making big decisions like what city to come to to expand The Big Cheezy. Baton Rouge is the right one.”