It's National Grilled Cheese Day and what better way to celebrate than to visit one of the many restaurants in the Triangle offering their very own version of the delicious sandwich? We've put together a list of six shops offering a different take on the classic cheesy melt.
La Farm Bakery
La Farm Bakery is an authentic French bakery in Cary that produces fifteen different styles of breads. Owner and Master Baker Lionel Vatinet was a semifinalist for the prestigious James Beard Foundation's "Outstanding Baker" award.
La Farm's menu features the Signature Grilled Cheese Sandwich, made with aged cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan cheese, tomato, chipotle mayo, and Mornay sauce. Co-owner Missy Vatinet said the chipotle spread made in house adds a touch of "spice and fun" to the sandwich. But what really makes it stand out, Missy Vatinet said, is the La Farm sourdough bread. "The most special part of it," she said, "is the baker's talent that goes into the loaf itself."
Joule Coffee & Table
You might have heard the name Ashley Christensen come up in conversations surrounding Raleigh dining.
The James-Beard-Award-winning chef owns a number of restaurants in the area, including Poole's Diner and one of her newest projects, Death & Taxes. For your grilled cheese fix, try her coffee shop Joule Coffee & Table. The lunch menu offers a smoky, tangy grilled cheese sandwich made with smoked cheddar pimento cheese on sourdough bread.
For an Italian take on grilled cheese, try a three-cheese panini at Toast.
This one is made with a gooey, tangy asiago fresca, and two types of aged cheeses: Grana Padano and pecorino. For added taste, the sandwich also comes with a drizzle of truffle oil. Co-owner Kelli Cotter calls it a "grown up" grilled cheese. "When people are craving comfort food, that's usually the go to," she said.
Nashers Sandwich House
Tired of the basic grilled cheese? Try something completely off the map. Nashers Sandwich House offers a sweet and savory version of the classic sandwich: a Roasted Pear Grilled Cheese, made with blue cheese, roasted pears, sundried cranberries and a sort of honey cream cheese called honey crema on white bread.
Owner and chef Matt Doyle said he was initially unsure about how people would receive this sandwich, but he said it has developed quite the cult following. "People have really taken to it," he said.
Sunflowers Cafe and Catering
Sunflowers Cafe offers a different take on a Southern favorite: pepper jack pimiento cheese.
The sandwich is served on the cafe's locally made sunflower bread, made with sunflower seeds. "It's about the texture," said owner Deborah Ferebee. "You get the soft of the pimento cheese and then the chewiness of the sunflower seeds." For a more classic version of a grilled cheese try a popular item that's not on the menu: a Havarti grilled cheese with mayonnaise on the sunflower bread.
Venture out to Sandwhich for two popular versions of the grilled cheese: the Grilled Gruyere and the Bam.
The first is served on sourdough with sauteed cremini mushrooms and the second is the gruyere with sauteed apples and bacon added - owner Janet Elbetri calls the sandwiches "first cousins." Elbetri said the sandwiches are hugely popular. "The tanginess of the cheese and the nuttiness of the mushroom go really well together," she said.
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Six Triangle hot spots for a great grilled cheese