Childhood memories play a huge role in a person’s connection with food, which explains the obsession around reinvented pre-teen snacks like donuts, hot dogs, ice cream, mac ‘n cheese, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Of course, these revamped throwback foods are often delineated from their predecessors by being dubbed “artisanal.” On that topic, our friends at Yelp NYC found a few grilled cheeses that are really upping the ante—just in time for National Grilled Cheese month (April) and National Grilled Cheese Day (April 12)!
Every culture has its own comfort-food staples, and Clancey might be one of the only known restaurants paying homage to a worldwide array of such dishes. One such menu item is called Yesterday’s Lo Mein, and it’s responsible for easily the tastiest leftovers you’ve ever eaten. Clancey also pays homage to a dish from LES classic ‘inoteca, recreating the restaurant’s beloved truffle egg toast in a decadent grilled cheese form that’s stuffed with layers of cheese and asparagus and served alongside a runny egg (pro tip: break the egg yolk and then dip the sandwich in it). Be sure to pair it with one of their amusing cocktails, like the Drunk at Gray’s Papaya or Who’s Watching My Kids? for a well-rounded experience. 79 Clinton St., 917-388-3575
Of the many notable grilled cheese destinations that now dot the Manhattan culinary landscape, few have the square footage of the Cheese Grille, just south of Houston on the LES. Its somewhat sprawling confines pump out flavors for everyone, including vegans and those who suffer from gluten intolerance. But for those with no issues experiencing the real deal, try something crazy like their Sloppy Joe or Buffalo chicken grilled cheese varieties. 188 Allen St., 212-460-9383
When you convince investors to loan you lots of working capital for operating a grilled cheese restaurant, it’s everyone’s hope the operators have a good sense of humor. From the name alone, you can tell that’s clearly the case with this Brooklyn “speak cheesy.” Great puns abound with menu items like the Herb-ie Hancock (fresh mozzarella, gorgonzola, pesto, basil, and balsamic reduction), the Freaks & Greeks (dill havarti, herbed feta, sautéed spinach, sundried tomatoes, and olive tapenade), and an option for those with a sweet tooth, the Figgy Smalls (triple cream brie, gorgonzola, fig jam, green apple, and rosemary on Levain bread). 343 Franklin Ave., Brooklyn, 714-519-6374
Flamin’ Hot Doughnut Grilled Cheese at Clinton Hall.
Well known for their over-the-top creations (including timed challenges with an incentive to pay $0 for your meal), they’ve just unveiled a humdinger of a grilled cheese sandwich in partnership with The Doughnut Project. The Flamin’ Hot Doughnut Grilled Cheese features a habanero-bacon doughnut cut in half and filled with a mountain of mozzarella, served hovering on a hook over a hot bowl of tomato soup. There are only 40 grilled cheese doughnuts left, and for a limited time ending on April 12 (National Grilled Cheese Day). If you’re interested in greatly increasing your LDL cholesterol count, you better get there before it’s too late. 90 Washington St., 212-363-6000
Ruggy Joesten is the Sr. Community Director for Yelp in Manhattan. Connecting businesses with influential locals on Yelp is his passion. He also curates experiential events throughout Manhattan to build buzz for new and time-tested local businesses. Business owners can email firstname.lastname@example.org for Elite Event hosting inquiries. Be sure to follow @YelpNYC on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and use the hashtag #YelpEatsNYC when posting your food photos around the web.