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Beecher's own grilled cheese sandwich

Apparently next Wednesday is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. I know, we don’t care either: It’s always grilled cheese day in our hearts.

Beecher's Handmade Cheese

Beecher’s nutty Flagship Cheddar makes one legendary sandwich, in variants with smoked turkey, Dungeness crab, or a simple cheese duet with Beecher’s Just Jack. But our favorite in this flagship Pike Place Market location is the Flagship Cheddar with basil and tomato: An iconic classic in an iconic space (with a few stools for eating-in and watching the cheesemakers at work).

Cheese Wizards

Something about the thinner bread and the golden product makes “toasted cheese” a more apt descriptor for the stunners at these fantasy-themed haunts, filled with cheese blends like Emmentaler with Jack, or dill havarti with mozzarella—and some lovely meaty elements. (Like the Voldemortadella, the demonic lovechild of a grilled cheese and a muffaletta.) The original truck, often around South Lake Union, now has a tiny bricks-and-mortar sibling in Interbay. The sauce bar and the fact that you can add bacon to anything tops up the charms.

Cycene

The latest darling of Southern food aficionados is Cycene in Pike Place Market, whose Double Grilled Cheese mingles pimento cheese with American cheese to most winningly gooey affect, with a nice pimento spank. Another variant subs out the American for Swiss, then adds pickles and thick sheets of ham. We say go for what you feel like; this lunch counter is rocking everything.

Serious Biscuit

Okay so now we’re just brazenly cheating: This slathered biscuit at Tom Douglas’s biscuit emporium in South Lake Union isn’t a grilled cheese in the slightest, and really isn’t a sandwich either. But can we help it if the ham, egg, Beecher’s cheddar, and apple mustard biscuit fires on all the same cylinders? The cheese comes melted all over the ruffles of ham, the apple mustard grabs you by the lapels, and the biscuit makes such a tenderly satisfying base you may question all other sandwiches, forever.

Oliver’s Twist

We adore these careful cocktail bars, on Phinney Ridge and in Magnolia, for their tidy cozy senses of place and, frankly, for their exquisite New York white cheddar on Columbia City Bakery potato bread. The grilled cheese sandwich comes with a frothy serving of tomato soup, a brilliant light compliment.

Grilled Cheese Experience

Another grilled cheese truck—this one you see in front of the library downtown—has two claims to fame: a long list of sandwiches (a half-dozen of which are offered daily), and parmesan bread. (Three claims to fame if you count the grilled mac and cheese.) The bigger combos can be pretty sloppy so grab lots of napkins or order something on the plain side, like the Classic (made of three local cheddars). The very popular Bluesy Chick marries blue cheese with Mt. Townsend smoky jack, over house-smoked chicken.

Melt at Bar Sue

Serving after 6pm inside Pike/Pine’s affably dingy Bar Sue, Melt is the province of seasoned restaurateurs, and can taste like it. Most people know the mac and cheese, which comes in six varieties of Bechamel-smooth goodness. But the grilled sandwiches, most made with Havarti and many with meats like Hawaiian-style pulled pork or roasted turkey, can rock just as hard. We particularly like the purist’s favorite: havarti with Tillamook cheddar, red pepper aioli, and greens.

Skillet Diner

Where else can you get such a socioeconomically confused beast as the Ultimate Grilled Cheese, where brie and American cheese bond with a little cheddar in a brioche with bacon jam and, if you wish, a fried chicken thigh? It’s precisely this out-of-the-box mingling of fine cuisine with American grub that gives Skillet its patented disarming appeal. Because we have to admit it: Nothing goes gooey like American cheese.

Porkchop and Co.

The daytime headliner at this airy, down-to-earth Ballard haunt is a whole porkchop shoved between slices of bread—but diners’ preference runs to the Apple Melt, in which gruyere and Beecher’s Flagship cheddar mingle inside craggy slices of grilled sourdough. As if that weren’t already delectable enough, carmelized onions and pickled apple slices show up with unexpected, very welcome notes of sweet and sour—glorious against the sturdy savories of the cheese.

Cafe Presse

So a croque-monsieur isn’t technically a grilled cheese, topped with Bechamel and finished in the oven, but the meltiness of this French classic is a goo-lover’s wildest dream. Nobody in town makes it better than the little spot of Paris on 12th, Café Presse, where both the croque monsieur and the croque madame (the latter with an egg) kill it every time, with (among other things) gruyere that cauterizes into sweet little blisters across the top.

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Editor’s Pick

Cafe Presse

$$ French 1117 12th Ave

It's the most come-as-you-are French cafe in town, suffused with a casual dailiness that makes it dangerously easy to become a regular. And by the looks of i...

Porkchop and Co.

$$ American/New American 5451 Leary Ave NW

By appearance it's a casual neighborhood drop-in spot on Leary Ave, serving Ballardites weekday breakfasts and lunch, low-key dinners, and hearty brunch in a...

Editor’s Pick

Skillet Diner

$$ All Day Breakfast, American/New American Multiple Locations

It’s the pleasant-looking character actor of Seattle dining—able to slay hangovers via pork belly and cornmeal waffles, make a kale salad feel decadent, and ...

Melt at Bar Sue

$ American/New American 1407 14th Ave

From behind the walkup window inside the slighty dingy Bar Sue comes some of the most carefully crafted comfort food around: An array of grilled sandwiches, ...

Grilled Cheese Experience

$ Sandwiches/Deli 3810 Airport Way S

A grilled cheese truck—this one you often see in front of the library downtown—has two claims to fame: a long list of sandwiches (a half-dozen of which are o...

Editor’s Pick

Oliver's Twist

$$ Small Plates Multiple Locations

A textbook exemplar of that burgeoning new dining category, the cocktail and nosh lounge, is this Phinney Ridge winner (with a second location in Magnolia). ...

Serious Biscuit

$ Breakfast/Brunch, Southern/Creole/Cajun 401 Westlake Ave N

Tom Douglas's tiny Westlake biscuit bar started as Dahlia Workshop and became Serious Biscuit, a carb-exultant counter of biscuit sandwiches stuffed with fri...

Cycene

$$ Southern/Creole/Cajun 1523 First Ave

Add pimento cheese to a classic grilled cheese sandwich and you get something perfectly piquant, exceptionally gooey, and a gloriously unnatural tangerine hu...

The Cheese Wizards

$ Sandwiches/Deli 3204 15th Ave W

Walls painted cheddar or black are hung with weaponry from various fantasy genres—Sauron’s mace from Lord of the Rings, She-Ra’s sword of protection, even an...

Editor’s Pick

Beecher's Handmade Cheese

$ Sandwiches/Deli 1600 Pike Pl

There are no tables in this Pike-Place Market marvel, but still it’s one of the must-stop joints in the Market for its glassed-in views of cheesemakers at wo...

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