Most folks consider this quick cooking sandwich to be perfect make-at-home fare; after all, a good grilled cheese can be made from nothing more than a few simple ingredients- butter, melting cheese, and hearty bread. Like any good sandwich, however, a grilled cheese always tastes best when someone else makes it for you.

To celebrate National Grilled Cheese month, we asked you, our food-loving friends, to share your favorite local grilled cheese sandwiches with us! Putting this childhood classic in capable (and sometimes creative hands) hands ensures an ooey-gooey mess of cheesy goodness with every order, but the similarities end there when it comes to restaurant riffs on this toasty sandwich. This was a tough job for Oak Park Eats, but lets face it, someone had to do it! 

Check out these five grilled cheese sandwiches in the area!

1. Little Gem Cafe:  “Little Gem! They have a great grilled cheese and tomato soup,” says Barbara K, a local Oak Park realtor of her favorite version of this childhood classic. Little Gem’s version of a grilled cheese is a solid nod to tradition. The sandwich, toasted to golden brown, features perfectly-melty mild cheddar cheese on white bread and comes with a cup of creamy tomato-basil soup suitable for dunking.

Oak Park Eats enjoyed this classic combo in Little Gem’s lovely French inspired dining room; the experience left us feeling like a grown up kid in the best possible way. Thanks for the tip, Barbara!

Go: Little Gem Cafe 189 N.Marion St. Oak Park, IL 60301

2. Starship Subs: Diane H-B wrote to Oak Park Eats all the from Vermont to give a shout out to Starship Subs’ version of a grilled cheese. “I grew up and lived in Forest Park for almost my entire life;” writes Diane,” without exception, the very best grilled cheese is made and served at Starship on Madison Street. We moved to southern Vermont 6 years ago, and I’m always telling Paul (McKenna) how much I miss his yummy offerings.”

Oak Park Eats enjoyed a fancy-pants version of Starship’s grilled cheese; the sandwich was brimming with Mozzarella, Provolone, Cheddar, fresh tomato and bacon on multigrain bread. It was a decadent version of a diner classic. Thanks for the recommendation, Diane!

Go: Starship Subs 7618 Madison St, Forest Park, IL 60130

3. Sawmilly Sandwich Shop: Jo Anne K, of Riverside wrote, ” I just discovered Oak Park Eats-love it. You should try Sawmilly in Riverside; I heartily recommend their grilled cheese.”

Oak Park Eats checked out the grilled offering at Sawmilly (realted to the Chew Chew); they are peddling a panni pressed at this lunch-only establishment sandwich boasting a trio of cheeses. We enjoyed ours with a cup of Sawmilly’s hearty bean soup and an iced tea; a quick, homemade meal in quaint Riverside. Thanks for sharing the grilled cheese love, Jo Anne!

Go: Sawmilly Sandwich Shoppe 35 E Burlington St, Riverside, IL 60546

3. The Buzz Cafe: Dawn F says, “I could totally eat more than one of The Buzz cafe’s grilled cheese sandwiches!” The pressed sandwich features Cheddar and Mozzarella cheeses, fresh tomato, and punchy basil pesto.

Oak Park Eats savored the notably colorful sammy with a side salad drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette. The artsy dining room is a perfect venue to enjoy a more creative interpretation of this classic dish. Thanks for sharing your love for such a Buzz-worthy bite, Dawn!

Go: The Buzz Cafe  905 S Lombard Ave, Oak Park, IL 60304

5. Exit Strategy Brewing Company:  Geo M suggested we try the grilled cheese at Exit Strategy Brewing Company in Forest Park. “Exit Strategy has a grown-up Grilled cheese. Challah bread – bacon jam – arugula – Havarti cheese.” That concoction sounds divine, but funny thing-when Oak Park Eats paid Exit Strategy a visit they were serving Sunday brunch. We may have been looking for a grilled cheese, but slurped down a bloody mary and filled up on their Brewhouse Hash featuring shredded pork belly, beets, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, shallots, two sunny side up eggs, black pepper maple sour cream and a buttermilk biscuit. It can be delicious being flexible! Don’t worry Geo, look for us to update this post with Exit Strategy’s grilled cheese, soon. Thanks for reaching out and give their brewery brunch a try in the meantime!

Go: Exit Strategy 7700 Madison StreetForest Park, IL 60130

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