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Spotlight on Blue Cactus Grill: Urban Spoon Singing a Desert Tune



Growing up in the suburbs of NYC, Vic Amereno always had a love for the comfort of his east coast roots. After moving to Arizona to attend college, Vic fell in love with southwestern cuisine and the restaurant industry. After running a popular Italian eatery in Tucson for almost 9 years, the restauranteur decided to move back east in 2003 to be closer to family. 


With over 25 years in the food and hospitality industry, Vic had a craving to combine modern American comfort food with the flavors of his adopted home in the desert southwest. Together with his wife and partner, Amanda Dalton, the couple has been serving homemade fare with a homegrown flair at the Blue Cactus Grill in Norwalk, Ct. for the last 14 years.


Tucked away in the outskirts of NYC, this highly successful area staple features an array of freshly cut cheesesteaks, award-winning burgers, handcrafted sandwiches, homemade soups and sides, healthy salads, hand-cut fries, and a selection of meatless menu items. 



Crafting everything from artisanal sauces and seasonal spices to crispy potato chips and charred jalapeños from scratch, Blue Cactus Grill offers up to 10 house made soups every day in addition to their generously portioned signature specialties.


Customers from all over the NY metro area, and up-and-down the eastern seaboard, have been flocking to Blue Cactus Grill  to get a taste of their desert-inspired deliciousness for over a decade.


“We pride ourselves on two things: offering the freshest, home-made-to-order food and providing the absolute best service in town!" ~ Vic Amereno




SPECIALTIES OF THE HOUSE


A house favorite, the authentic Philly cheesesteak, made with hand-carved steak, piping hot toppings, and doused with homemade seasonings, is available in several different flavorful combinations.


Below are just a few top-rated winners.


  • VIC'S FAMOUS: Hand-sliced top round steak with grilled hot and sweet cherry peppers, Chipotle mayo, and creamy American cheese, topped with authentic southwest chili.

  • SOUTHWESTERN: Thinly sliced grilled top round steak with fresh avocado, melted provolone, Chipotle mayo, and roasted tomato salsa.

  • TRIPLE THREAT: Thinly sliced grilled top round steak with mouthwatering griddled onions, red and green bell peppers, hand-roasted artisan jalapeños, home-roasted red peppers, savory sautéed mushrooms, Chipotle mayo, and melted provolone.

  • CHUBBY DOUGLAS: Hand-carved grilled top round steak, house cut fresh french fries, melted hot Provolone, savory brown gravy, and creamy Horseradish sauce.

  • OH, "CHEESUS": Thinly sliced grilled top round steak with gooey American, Provolone, and Cheese Whiz; griddled onions; crispy bacon; and homemade cherry pepper mayo.

  • BACKYARD BBQ: Top round steak with homemade Chipotle BBQ sauce, crispy bacon, creamy cheese whiz, and gourmet onion rings.

  • PHILLY CHICKEN: Freshly grilled chopped chicken breast topped with piping hot American, Provolone, or Cheese Whiz.




FIVE-STAR BURGERS


Generous half-pounders served on locally baked Brioche buns, these are just a few of the joint's juicy, freshly prepared, mouthwatering burgers are fan faves.


  • FIVE NAPKIN: Deliciously crafted with meat from Danbury’s Omaha Beef Company, crispy bacon, juicy Chipotle BBQ sauce, melted cheddar cheese, and  crispy onion rings.

  • BLUE CACTUS: Melted real American cheese, house-roasted charred jalapeños, tomato,  and avocado-sour cream.

  • DIAMONDBACK: Mouthwatering melted cheese, crispy bacon, gourmet onion rings, and house made Chipotle BBQ sauce.

  • BROOKLYN: Freshly sautéed mushrooms, gooey American cheese, and griddled onions. 

  • HILLTOP CLASSIC: Custom blended 8 oz. burger with creamy American cheese, crisp iceberg lettuce, Jersey tomatoes, hand-select pickles, sweet raw red onion, and homemade Thousand Island sauce.



SOUTHWEST SANDWICHES


Like taking a bite from a desert southwest kitchen,  the sandwich shop is known for its high-quality, carefully sourced, home-crafted ingredients served on freshly prepared wraps, wedges, and crispy rolls.


  • SANTA FE: Made with handcrafted chicken cutlets, roasted red peppers, shredded iceberg lettuce, sweet red onion, and savory Chipotle mayo.

  • PHOENIX TUNA MELT: House made original recipe tuna salad with tomato, fresh avocado, cheddar/Jack cheese and cherry pepper mayo direct from the Valley of the Sun.

  • CHICKEN CAESAR WRAP: Grilled chicken, Romaine romano cheese, and caesar dressing.

  • CHICKEN SALAD B.L.T.: Signature housemade all white meat chicken salad with crispy bacon, lettuce, and tomato.

  • FAYE RAYE: Freshly grilled chicken with thin slices of green apple, mozzarella, and honey dijon-balsamic glaze.

  • G.T.F.O.H. CHICKEN: Crispy homemade chicken cutlets tossed in famous "Sin City Sauce” with crispy bacon, avocado, sliced pickles, and melted American cheese .

  • LIFE-CHANGER WRAP: Chicken tenders, Sin City Sauce, Lettuce, cheddar/Jack, tomato, ranch, and scallions.

 



HEALTHY OPTIONS

Catering to a wide variety of dietary presences, Blue Cactus Grill features an assortment of signature salads, brimming bowls, and specialty items made-to-order and freshly prepared every day by its crew of culinary kitchen gurus.


  • SIN CITY SALAD: House-sliced chicken cutlets on a bed of crisp Romaine lettuce, shredded cheddar/Jack cheese, crispy summer corn, crispy bacon, and sweet red onion.

  • STEAKHOUSE SALAD: Freshly grilled, thinly sliced top round steak served with crisp Romaine lettuce, juicy diced tomatoes, cool and crispy cucumber, tangy red onion, and shredded cheese.

  • SEDONA COBB: Crisp Romaine lettuce, thinly sliced turkey breast, crispy bacon, avocado, crumbled gorgonzola, and sliced hard boiled egg.

  • SCOTTSDALE SALAD: Organic mixed greens, Cajun grilled chicken, corn, black beans, avocado, Cheddar/Jack cheese,  and house made whole wheat tortilla strips.

  • HI-PRO CHICKEN BOWL: Freshly grilled chicken, grilled onions, red and green bell peppers, locally grown mushrooms, summer corn, roasted red peppers, crispy cabbage, melted Provolone, and a touch of  homemade salsa verde.

  • BURGER BOWL: A half pound of freshly prepared burger meat and melted American cheese served over a bed of shredded iceberg lettuce, and topped with hand cut fries, sweet red onion, juicy tomato, and artisan pickles, drizzled with house made savory burger sauce.


VEGETARIAN 

You don't have to be a  meat eater to enjoy Blue Cactus Grill. A variety of vegetarian offerings is also available and freshly made to order.


  • CALIFORNIA: Spanish style seasoned rice, black beans, fresh avocado, lettuce, cilantro lime shredded cabbage, and house made salsa.

  • CAPRESE: Freshly sliced fresh mozzarella, tomato, homemade *pesto, and house Balsamic vinaigrette.

  • SUPER HEALTHY VEGGIE BOWL: Cauliflower, spinach, grilled onions, red and green bell peppers, roasted red peppers, mushrooms, tomato, corn, cabbage, scallions, cilantro, provolone, and homemade salsa verde.

  • CAULIWOOD WRAP: Pan seared fresh cauliflower, seasoned rice, corn, grilled onions and homemade cherry pepper mayo.

  •  VEGGIE LOVERS "CHEESESTEAK": Freshly grilled onions, red and green bell peppers, fresh mushrooms, shredded lettuce, tomato, avocado, pesto, and homemade balsamic vinaigrette glaze.

  • BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER BITES: Pan seared fresh cauliflower tossed in Buffalo sauce and drizzled with homemade bleu cheese dressing.  



SIDES

At Blue Cactus Grill, the sandwiches are just the beginning. House made Cactus Slaw,  made with a cilantro lime vinaigrette, is  the perfect topping for any sandwich.


Several varieties of hand-cut fries, including Cajun, DiscoGarlic Parmesan, Sweet Potato, and Zombie Waffle Fries, ​​are delicious on their own or a perfect mate for any steak, burger, or sandwich.


Freshly cut homemade potato chips, always crispy and delicious, are carved and freshly made every day.



JUST DESSERTS

The perfect ending to any meal, Blue Cactus Grill crafts an assortment of after-dinner decadence, all homemade, of course!

BANANA PUDDING: Described by customers as "a throw-back to the 60’s, laden with fresh bananas and ‘Nilla Wafers. Yummy!

CHEESECAKE BROWNIE: Ghiradelli double chocolate brownie with chocolate chips, topped with a layer of creamy New York style cheesecake.

PEANUT BUTTER CUP COOKIE: Freshly baked decadent jumbo Peanut butter chunk cookies with chocolate peanut butter cups.



And the list just keeps going with chicken tenders; beef and turkey chili; chicken, steak, and veggie quesadillas. Breakfast sandwiches like the TIJUANA HANGOVER and BRONX BOMBER and breakfast quesadillas like the BALEADA and WAKE UP CALL are all made with farm-fresh eggs and locally-sourced ingredients.


Branded merchandise and a selection of bottled artisinal sauces and mayos are also available to purchase.


Predominantly, a take-out and delivery Quick Service Restaurant, Blue Cactus Grill is conveniently located less than an hour from New York City along the 1-95 corridor in Norwalk, Connecticut.


Always going the extra mile for their customers, this  predominantly take-out and delivery Quick Service Restaurant (QSR)  is conveniently located along the 1-95 corridor, less than an hour from NYC.



With delivery being a huge chunk of the business, Vic knew it was important to join forces with a delivery platform that would allow customers to order directly from his website instead of having to sign onto a different app. 


As such, Vic and Amanda turned to Sauce to fulfill all of their  delivery orders. 


“We don’t use third-party delivery companies,” Vic explained, “instead we decided to go with Sauce because of all of the technology they offer to make online orders integrate (seamlessly) with our POS system.” 


From creating the online menu to tracking orders and handling problems and concerns, Sauce was the behind-the-scenes partner they had been been waiting for. 

Sauce’s service was amazing,” recalled Vic, “they set everything up for us.”


With Sauce facilitating all delivery orders, Blue Cactus Grill is now able to focus on what they do best—making delicious food and satisfying their customers.


Serving the local residential and corporate community, Blue Cactus Grill  also offers expert  short-term, last minute custom catering  for office meetings, corporate lunches, and private events.




Season of Paying it Forward

During the 2023 holiday season when so many folks were suffering from the effects of high food prices due to inflation, Vic and Amanda created and facilitated an initiative dedicated to supporting their neighbors in need. The Grill's “Delicious Donations Wall” program was designed to lend a helping hand to members of the community who had fallen on hard times. Responding in droves to this bonding effort, generous members of the Norwalk community were eager to "pay-it- forward," donating meals to complete strangers.


Anyone in need could simply take one of the receipts from the wall to the counter to receive a delicious gifted meal. No questions were asked, but to those in need, many prayers were answered.



Eats Meets Southwest at Blue Cactus Grill


Together with hands-on owner/operators, Vic and Amanda, Blue Cactus Grill's ten “man” crew comes in every morning, bright and early to begin prepping for the day. Always ready to greet customers with a smile, staff members like Janet (left) and Ela (right) are dedicated to always going the extra mile for their customers


When asked to reveal the  "secret sauce" to the success of the Blue Cactus Grill, Vic was eager to reply. “We have the world's best staff--- always ready to provide our customers with the very best comfort food and hometown customer service."


By offering the highest quality in everything they serve, including the friendly vibe guests experience whenever they stop by, Vic and Amanda are proud to say that "there’s really nothing we wouldn’t do for our customers!”



Blue Cactus Grill is open for breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday.  

51 Stevens St.

Norwalk, CT

(203) 838-8800



By Eileen Strauss

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