Fabio Trabocchi is best known for the white-tablecloth cuisine at his Penn Quarter dining room, but he does blue-collar classics just as well. His grilled buffalo-mozzarella-with-basil sandwich accompanies a steaming bowl of rustic Tuscan-style tomato soup.
601 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-628-2888
For more than 40 years, this 24/7 roadside diner has been using white bread and orange American-cheese singles to make grilled sandwiches that taste like what you probably had as a five-year-old—and are still good at any hour.
2310 Columbia Pike, Arlington; 703-920-6103.
This farm-to-table eatery makes its own wheat bread, which is piled with a cheesy trifecta: Muenster, Gruyère, and white cheddar. It’s even better with a slice of house-brined ham spiced with juniper berries and caraway.
1924 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, 202-822-8783; 12505 Park Potomac Ave., Potomac, 301-340-8783
Cheddar, pepperjack, and provolone unite in this subterranean saloon’s sandwich, creating loads of gooey goodness. Amp it up with crispy bacon or tomato slices.
8401 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring; 301-587-8350
This Clarendon salad shop serves a Southern-style grilled pimiento cheese laden with sharp cheddar. The cubes of roasted red pepper that dot the cheese give the pressed sandwich a pleasingly piquant undertone.
3035 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington; 703-243-5660
Photographs by Scott Suchman.
This article appears in the March 2012 issue of The Washingtonian.