Cheese lovers, rejoice! Today is a National Grilled Cheese Day and we're totally ready to celebrate the buttery, gooey, goodness of the classic comfort food that we all know and love.
If you're anything like us, you've spent many a cold winter night eating grilled cheese sandwiches dipped in tomato soup, a food so comforting it feels like it's reaching in and giving you a hug. While back in the day we may have enjoyed our Mother's grilled cheese (still amazing, don't worry, Mom!) there are a ton of new sandwich inventions that have us wanting to swear off no-carb diets forever.
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From grilled cheeses with lobster melted into them to sandwiches featuring luxe ingredients like truffle oil, these N.Y.C. restaurants and shops host some of the best sammies in the business. Read our list of top grilled cheese shops, and then try to make time to visit all of them next time you're in the city.
1. Murray's Cheese Bar
This West Village spot started out as a simple flagship store with a number of fine cheeses sold, but quickly blossomed into a restaurant for cheesy brunches and dinners. The menu items feature cheeses made locally and abroad that are hand-picked by experts and connoisseurs. Their famous "Murray's Melt" grilled cheese sandwich features a secret blend of cheeses on a Pullman loaf.
2. Little Muenster
Little Muenster has two locations in N.Y.C., one being in Manhattan's Brookfield Place (home of InStyle!) and the other being in the Brooklyn neighborhood DUMBO. The owners set out to create a fast casual restaurant that sold inventive grilled cheeses, and the shop definitely does just that. The menu has a number of unique grilled cheese sandwiches, a few standouts being their Maine Lobster grilled cheese or their Cuban grilled cheese. The menu sounds so good, it'll be hard to choose just one!
3. Melt Shop
Melt Shop is a restaurant in Manhattan with multiple locations featuring "artisanal, melted sandwiches." The amount of comfort food on their menu that sounds ridiculously delicious will overwhelm you! Standout sandwiches like the Truffle Melt (yes, truffle oil on your grilled cheese) and Maple Bacon pair perfectly with their famous "shop tots" to make you feel like you're a kid again.
4. Astoria Bier and Cheese
Astoria Bier and Cheese might be a tad off the beaten path, but it's definitely worth the trek out to Queens. Not only does the shop do amazing beer and cheese tastings and pairings, their cheesy menu has unique and mouth-watering sandwich options that will have you coming back for more. A personal favorite? The Truffle Conundrum sandwich at their Ditmars location, filled with Vermont truffled cheddar, fresh mozzarella, and a hint of raw honey.
5. Gorilla Cheese NYC
Gorilla Cheese is actually a food truck that stops at local lunch hotspots all over the city. Not only does the truck feature delicious favorites like grilled cheeses featuring carmelized onions and pulled pork, but it also has fun sides like tater tots and even a gooey s'mores dessert melt. Additionally, they cater so next time you're planning a big event, look to the "cheesiest" truck for the best comfort food!
6. The Queens Kickshaw
Another great Queens establishment, The Queens Kickshaw is a quaint spot that serves everything from coffee to cocktails, with amazing grilled cheese sandwiches as one of their main attractions. Many of their products are sourced from New York-based farmers and artisans from all over the state. Looking for a recommendation? Try their new "White Russian" grilled cheese with tasty coleslaw and dressing. Perfect for a summer lunch!
7. Cheese Grille
This Lower East Side spot knows a thing or two about grilled cheese. The restaurant has both savory grilled cheese options and sweet (their banana mascarpone sounds to die for). In addition, you can customize your own grilled cheese with ingredients like carmelized onions and avocado so there is literally something for everyone.
8. Harlem Public
Harlem Public is an uptown bar and restaurant in West Harlem with a super yummy menu. Their standout grilled cheese is a parm-crusted avocado grilled cheese. Just typing that made my mouth water.
9. Beecher's Handmade Cheese
Beecher's Handmade Cheese is located in the Flatiron neighborhood and is both a cheese shop and restaurant. If you head downstairs to their restaurant, dubbed the Cellar, you can grab a bite in the same place that the shop ages their cheeses. Beecher's famous grilled cheese sandwich combines "Just Jack" cheese (made using whole milk) and Flagship.
10. Lucy's Whey
Lucy's Whey is cheese shop, restaurant, and fan-favorite of Upper East Siders. The small shop sells artisanal cheeses from all over America, with a few selections from abroad. The grilled cheese sandwich worth trying from this shop? Lucy's Favorite Grilled Cheese is raved about, especially when paired with a cup of tomato soup. The 'wich features Prairie Breeze cheddar and fig jam, which gives it a little something extra. Next time you're in the area, grab some takeout for a picnic in Central Park!