Glorious grilled cheese: Toasty, easy, and just plain tasty

It's the cheesiest. The Citizen Burger Bar menu offers two different grilled cheese choices. Photo: Andrea Hubbell It’s the cheesiest. The Citizen Burger Bar menu offers two different grilled cheese choices. Photo: Andrea Hubbell

The combination of buttered bread with melted cheese goes far beyond its simple ingredients. Once grilled (and dipped into a steaming bowl of tomato soup), it delivers instant comfort. The illustrious sandwich has grown up since its Campbell’s days and these local examples highlight the icon in all its gooey glory.

There’s a lot on the menu at Basic Necessities that make it worth the drive to Nellysford, and the grilled cheese is among them. Thick-sliced Albemarle Baking Company Pain de Campagne gets a drizzle of olive oil, a smear of mayo, garlic, and both mozzarella and cheddar cheeses before it’s grilled ’til golden and served with a heap of Kettle chips.

Feast! changes its grilled cheese with the season and the fall version is a doozy: gruyère, a spread of local butternut squash and caramelized onions, and whole grain mustard on Albemarle Baking Company’s Walnut Levain.

For the no-frill grilled cheese lovers out there, you can’t go wrong with the one at The Nook. It’s white bread, American cheese, and plenty of butter. With crinkle fries on the side, it’ll remind you of those halcyon days of cafeterias and childhood.

Black Market Moto Saloon’s serving lunch now from 11:30am-2:30pm Tuesday through Saturday and its take on grilled cheese is a tasty one—smoked Gouda on rye with a touch of red pepper aioli.

During lunch at Escafé, you get to choose from five breads (ciabatta, please), from 10 cheeses (provolone for us), and whether you want to add tomato (yes, please) or bacon (most definitely) to your grilled cheese. You have one last choice too—potato salad, cole slaw, french fries, or veggie of the day?

Burgers might be the headlining act at Citizen Burger Bar, but any place with two different grilled cheese options means business. The No. 1 combines Tillamook cheddar, McClure swiss, tomato, pesto, and arugula on nutty wheat bread; the No. 2 is sliced American, bacon jam, and sriracha on sourdough bread. Both come with a pile of Citizen fries. Decisions, decisions.

Dream teams
Cheese will always be the main attraction, but the vehicle to get it to your mouth is no less important. Albemarle Baking Company’s Gerry Newman is in the business of really good bread, so we’re taking his advice for the bread/cheese combos that make the ultimate in gourmet grilled cheeses. His other tip? “I always grate the cheese first. I like the way it melts.”
1) Pain de Mie + Tillamook cheddar
2) Walnut Levain + sharp white cheddar + thin-sliced apple
3) Oatmeal Crunch + aged gouda

Holy sandwich
The most famous grilled cheese sandwich sold on eBay for $28,000 in November 2004. The 10-year-old sammy was believed to have the image of the Virgin Mary on it.

British to American translator
Cheese toastie = grilled cheese