The Most-Over-the-Top Grilled Cheese in America
We scoured the country to find the cheesiest, most decadent and deliciously excessive grilled cheese around.
Photo By: Leigh Loftus
Photo By: Fashfoodies
Photo By: Jessica Attie Photography
Photo By: FoodieOC
Los Angeles: The Champ at The Roof on Wilshire
The winner of LA's Grilled Cheese Invitational, this sandwich at The Roof on Wilshire takes all the elements of a cheese plate and turns them into one over-the-top sandwich. The grilled cheese is made with Taleggio cheese on raisin walnut bread. It's slathered with a sweet and salty apricot-caper spread (made in-house) and topped with sun-dried tomatoes and arugula. Meat lovers can add short ribs for extreme decadence.
Chicago: French Onion Soup Grilled Cheese at Ironside Bar & Galley
The melding of beefy broth, simmered onions and loads of Gruyère cheese makes French onion soup deliciously decadent. It inspired the chef at this River North sports bar to turn the soup's ingredients into an equally delectable sandwich. To do this, he makes a full batch of French onion soup and removes the onions from the broth. He then takes those onions and Gruyère cheese and stuffs them between two pieces of sourdough bread. To take it a step further, he griddles the outside of the bread with Parmigiano Reggiano to create a crisp, cheesy exterior. The sandwich is served with a little bit of that French onion soup — for dunking, of course.
Miami: Media Noche Grilled Cheese at Bar Collins
Cuban culture runs deep in Miami, so creating a grilled cheese with Cuban roots was a no-brainer for this swanky hotel restaurant. The sandwich contains the typical media noche ingredients — roasted pork and ham, mustard and mayo — but, for a nod to the French, Gruyère cheese is subbed for the Swiss. And because everyone loves a fried egg a la croque madame, one of those is added too. The sandwich, served on buttery brioche bread, is cut into a circle and pressed.
Redondo Beach, California: Lobster Scampi Grilled Cheese at Chez Melange
Seafood is the star at this coastal neighborhood restaurant, so why shouldn't the grilled cheese have lobster in it? The chef decided to make a lobster scampi version of grilled cheese, taking tomatoes straight from the restaurant's 1-acre garden, combining them with garlic, Parmesan and mozzarella, and chunks of fresh lobster, and serving it all on ciabatta bread.
Scottsdale, Arizona: Formaggio at Virtù Honest Craft
Chef Gio Osso is inspired by the best ingredients he can find — locally and abroad. His menu at Virtù reflects that with an ever-changing rotation of small plates, handmade pastas and a daily brunch menu. For his grilled cheese he puts his own spin on an Italian classic with his sandwich the Formaggio, made with melted scamorza (a semisoft Italian cheese), prosciutto di Parma, fig conserve and a small arugula salad.
Marina Del Rey, California: Truffle Grilled Cheese at Salt
"Decadent" is the only way to describe the grilled cheese at this SoCal waterfront restaurant. Seeded wheat bread from local bakery Gjusta is topped with creamy raclette cheese from Redding Farms, spread with beurre de baratte butter from Normandy, France, and garnished with a sprinkling of Italian black truffles and Maldon salt. It's a true indulgence.
New York: Doughnut Grilled Cheese at Clinton Hall
Everyone loves a good mashup, so why not one between a grilled cheese and a doughnut? At this beer-focused spot with multiple NYC locations, a freshly glazed doughnut is sliced in half and filled with melty mozzarella cheese. It's then hung on a banana stand over a steamy bowl of tomato soup. The cheese oozes into the soup, making for a creamy texture and the perfect photo op.
New York: Croque Madame Grilled Cheese at Le Song
There are many great reasons to visit bustling Chelsea Market, and the grilled cheese at Le Song is one of them. French-trained chef Olivier Palazzo puts a croque madame spin on a grilled cheese: It's made with soft and buttery brioche baked as a pullman loaf, plus cheddar cheese and a truffle-infused bechamel, and is topped with a sunny-side-up egg, black truffle shavings and a sprinkling of chives.
Austin, Texas: Strip Cheese at Wild Chix and Waffles
Waffles are the focus at this whimsical cafe inspired by the owner's travels to Paris. The choices range from sweet to savory, but all eyes are on the Strip Cheese, a savory waffle filled with oozing American cheese and freshly roasted jalapenos.
Rockville Centre, New York: Ham and Cheese Jaffle at The Bowery Bar and Fare
This Long Island bar and grill takes grilled cheese to a whole new level by swapping out the bread for pancake dough. Yep, they wrap Swiss cheese and ham (or mozzarella and prosciutto if you prefer) in pancake dough for an enveloped sandwich. It's served with a sweet fig jam on the side for dipping.
Seguin, Texas: Brisket Grilled Cheese at Davila's BBQ
Brisket is a given at a Texas BBQ restaurant, but the brisket grilled cheese at this one takes it to a whole other level. This mega sandwich is made with American cheese and grated cheddar, caramelized onions, sliced brisket, of course, and a spicy diablo sauce and finished with barbecue sauce.
Royal Oak, Michigan: Three-Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich at Café Muse
This quaint little cafe north of Detroit, in walkable Royal Oak, has been welcoming patrons for well over a decade. Its unassuming grilled cheese sandwich has garnered much national acclaim and remains a favorite among regulars. The sandwich is made with three cheeses — Havarti, fontina and fresh mozzarella — melted on bread from famous Zingerman's Bakehouse in Ann Arbor. Local basil and tomatoes from the farmers market are added when in season. The secret ingredient is Wild Detroit honey; used sparingly, it adds a hint of sweetness to the sandwich.
Costa Mesa, California: Short Rib Grilled Cheese at George's Cafe
Each menu item at this Segerstrom Center for the Arts cafe is carefully curated and thoroughly delicious. The grilled cheese is a perfect example, with red wine-braised short ribs, melty Gruyère cheese and sweet apricot jam, all on toasted multigrain bread.
Denver: The Gentile at Rye Society
This modern Jewish deli is a newcomer to the Denver dining scene, but it has already become a fan favorite. The Gentile (meaning "non-Jewish") is its version of a grilled cheese that veers from other, more Jewish menu items. It's composed of white American cheese and shaved bologna, creme fraiche and sour pickles, all on buttered and toasted brioche.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire: The D.G.G.C. (Damn Good Grilled Cheese) at The Friendly Toast
This welcoming restaurant with locations in New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts focuses on making its New England customers happy by using local ingredients to create fun and delicious dishes. The grilled cheese is no exception, made with American and cheddar cheeses, a brushing of an olive-and-garlic spread, and cheddar-cayenne bread baked fresh in-house daily. It's served with a strawberry habanero sauce on the side for dipping, dunking or spreading.
Boston: Lobster Grilled Cheese at Ned Devine's
Locals and tourists flock to this Faneuil Hall spot for pub food with a twist. And since this is New England, it's no surprise to see lobster pop onto the menu in a few separate items, none quite as decadent as the lobster grilled cheese. Hot buttered lobster is piled onto grilled country white bread and topped with melted fontina cheese, avocado and tomato.