Food

7 Deliciously Gooey Grilled Cheeses You Need to Try

The maple-bacon grilled cheese from Melt Shop. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Today is National Grilled Cheese Day! Yes, it’s a fake food holiday, but it’s also an excellent reason to eat delicious, melty sandwiches.

Maple-bacon melt at Melt Shop 

1901 L St., NW

A few slices of bacon never hurt, especially when said bacon is glazed with maple syrup for a touch of sweetness, and tucked inside a perfectly crisp-and-gooey grilled cheese sandwich. This Manhattan-based chain adds two kinds of cheese to the equation—cheddar and creamy cheddar spread—which makes it doubly addictive.

Glen's classic grilled cheese is comforting gooey goodness. Photograph via Glen's.
Glen’s classic grilled cheese is comforting gooey goodness. Photograph via Glen’s.

Sourdough grilled cheese at Glen’s Garden Market

2001 S St., NW; 1924 Eighth St., NW

There’s nothing fancy about the grilled cheese from these two locavore markets in Dupont and Shaw, which is why we love them. Cheddar and swiss cheeses are pressed between thick-cut sourdough slices, and you can always add a fat slice of tomato and/or bacon. Pair it with a cold beer, which goes for $4 all day, every day.

Get your French onion soup fix two ways at Cheesetique: in the bowl and between toasty slices of bread. Photograph via Cheesetique.
Get your French onion soup fix two ways at Cheesetique: in the bowl and between toasty slices of bread. Photograph via Cheesetique.

Cheesetique‘s French onion press 

2411 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; 4056 Campbell Ave., Arlington

For lovers of all things cheese, there is really no better soup than French onion—no, not the dainty Euro version with a light sprinkle of comte, we’re talking about the Americanized crocks capped with a thick raft of gooey, spoon-clinging gruyere (and maybe even a touch of mozz’). At this pair of fromage shops, find the soup in sandwich form, pressed between sourdough and spilling with dark, sweet onions.

Drafting Table's sandwich combines two of our favorite things: Peking duck pancakes and grilled cheese. Photograph via Drafting Table
Drafting Table’s sandwich combines two of our favorite things: Peking duck pancakes and grilled cheese. Photograph via Drafting Table

Duck pancake grilled cheese at Drafting Table

1529 14th St., NW

We’re already in love with Peking duck-inspired hot dogs, so why not a grilled cheese? The one at this Logan Circle soccer-lovers hangout marries tender hunks of pulled duck with provolone and scallions, then adds a side of hoisin sauce for dipping.

Stoney's "super grilled cheese" is just that, stuffed with bacon, tomato, and onion. Photograph via Flickr user Joe Flood
Stoney’s “super grilled cheese” is just that, stuffed with bacon, tomato, and onion. Photograph via Flickr user Joe Flood

Stoney’s super grilled cheese

1433 P St., NW; 2101 L St., NW

There’s no hyperbole in the name of this Stoney’s sandwich, which combines melty cheddar with bacon, tomato, and shaved red onion for a super-savory bite. Don’t even think about subbing in a salad–this grilled cheese deserves its companion of crispy fries.

A whole bar devoted to grilled cheese awaits at Ripple. Photograph via Ripple
A whole bar devoted to grilled cheese awaits at Ripple. Photograph via Ripple

 The grilled cheese bar at Ripple 

3417 Connecticut Ave., NW

You’ll have to hit Marjorie Meek-Bradley’s Cleveland Park restaurant at the right time for the delicious grilled cheeses, served exclusively at the bar from 5 to 6:30 nightly, and then again for the night owls between 9 and midnight (later times vary by day). That being said, it’s well worth planning ahead. Fancy creations include the “rich e rich” with prosciutto, truffle butter, mushroom duxelle, and goat cheese, or an over-the-top pâté melt with nutty comté cheese and–why not?–bacon.

The daily grilled cheese and tomato soup combo can be eaten at Ris, or ordered via delivery. Photograph via Ris Facebook
The daily grilled cheese and tomato soup combo can be eaten at Ris, or ordered via delivery. Photograph via Ris Facebook

Daily grilled cheese with tomato soup at Ris

2275 L St., NW

This is the ultimate comforting lunchtime combo: a warm cup of tomato soup and rotating sandwich, which has included combinations like melty gruyere and provolone, ham, and caramelized onions. Diners can eat-in, or summon the meal to their desks via Uber Eats.

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Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.