Every few years, some childhood classic comes back in fashion, and as soon as the call is made, chefs rush around attempting to reinvent it in new and dramatic ways (right now it's undoubtedly the doughnut's turn). But we doubt that this will ever happen to grilled cheese. First, it doesn't need a reintroduction. This sandwich is as good now as it was when we were eight years old. Second, the best thing about grilled cheese is that it can't be improved by loading it with a bunch of extraneous toppings or sauces. The specific type of cheese and bread may change, but for the most part the formula is exactly the same. Simplicity is part of the deal.
But even we were surprised by how many great grilled cheese sandwiches there are out there. Originally, we were only going to visit ten or so places, just to get a sampling. But we became obsessed with the sandwich, marveling at interplay between the crisp, butter-laced exterior of the bread and the molten interior of cheese. And we were awarded for our passion, as each restaurant we tried offered a unique take, while also staying true to the sandwich's essential nature.
This list is by no means complete, but here are 21 grilled sandwiches we are currently infatuated with in Chicago. Of course, it pains us that we have to end our search here, but we sadly have to move on to cover other cheese-less dishes around town. We'll get over it. If you can think of other places we need to check out next time, definitely let us know!
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