It all started on a cool night in the middle of October. I was scrolling through the Mobile Order app and settling in for a blissfully normal night when I suddenly experienced a burst of nostalgia.
When was the last time I ate a grilled cheese sandwich?
For the first time, I realized that an addicting childhood snack had become but a distant memory. In that fateful moment, I resolved to rekindle my love of grilled cheese. I endeavored to try the grilled cheese at every restaurant on West Campus that offers the sandwich.
Each grilled cheese was assigned a rating from one to 10 based on my preference for its texture and taste, with one being utterly inedible and 10 being absolutely flawless.
Last place: The Devil’s Krafthouse
At Krafthouse, I was met with a new and horrifying concoction: fig jam grilled cheese. I couldn’t understand what the appeal of this would be, but I wanted to keep an open mind. Yet, when I finally laid eyes on the physical sandwich, the faded tans and overcooked browns of the bread only confirmed my fears. Even more bizarrely, a piece of arugula had been included as well. I took one bite and the uncomfortable fusion of flavors lingered in my mouth for far too long. I did not take a second bite.
Fifth place: The Skillet
After obtaining my grilled cheese, I immediately encountered difficulty as the two halves of the sandwich were stuck together with cheese. I pulled them apart and dug in, encountering a rather bland flavor. Overall, this grilled cheese did little to impress me, but I didn’t find it particularly offensive either.
Fourth place: The Loop
I knew The Loop had mastered the burger arts, but would those skills transfer to grilled cheese? As it turns out, not really. The bread was just a bit too crunchy and the taste of the cheese was somewhat bland. This sandwich had an average performance overall.
Third place: Zweli’s Cafe at Duke Divinity
My quest began to take me farther and farther, as I sought out a restaurant I had never seen in person before. The grilled cheese here is part of a Daily Devil Deal, a meal that costs five dollars or less. I ate the sandwich with a cup of soup. This grilled cheese thoroughly impressed me with its sheer gooeyness, which easily surpassed all others. If you value cheese above all else, this one is perfect for you.
Second place: Panera Bread
Although I have been to many Paneras over the years, I never knew that they had grilled cheese on the menu. I decided to turn up the nostalgia even more by ordering tomato soup alongside my sandwich. This grilled cheese immediately set itself apart from the rest by using a classic bread loaf shape instead of a triangle shape. It was warm and fresh, with an extremely soft texture and delicious flavor. This grilled cheese was a different but effective approach.
The winner: Pitchfork’s
I retrieved my mobile order and lifted up the lid of the container. Right off the bat, I was blown away. The soft, lightly tanned bread looked like an image ripped straight from my memories. The smooth texture and cheesy taste yielded an ideal grilled cheese experience, with some solid french fries to go along with it.
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