Wisconsin may have a claim as being the cheese state, but we know in Minnesota we do everything just a little bit better. Enter the grilled cheese sandwich. This cold-weather staple, the lunchtime classic, with or without the tomato soup on the side this is something we all grew up eating. These restaurants make them the best and – not to knock your mom’s cooking skills – you’ll be hard-pressed to find better anywhere.
313 14th Ave. S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55414
A classic grilled cheese sandwich is found at Annie’s. While we embrace the modern twists many of our restaurants have put on classic dishes, sometimes you just have to go with simplicity. Three cheeses: muenster, cheddar, and American, blend together to create the perfectly rich, gooey texture that will bring out your inner child. There is a “fully loaded” version that adds tomato and bacon, if you’re feeling like you might want to step out of the norm just a little bit, but the classic will more than satisfy.
333 S. 8th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Keeping the classic grilled cheese model in mind while making it wholly their own, Mona puts out a sandwich that manages to balance comfort food with upscale lunch. The waffled brioche alone is delicious, but between the two slices is pure heaven, with sundried tomatoes and scallions swimming in the midst of oh-so-cheesy goodness. It’s a savory sandwich, perfect for lunch or midday snack, that will get your taste buds excited while still recalling the comfort food goodness of home.
2990 River Parkway W.
Minneapolis, MN 55406
The Wisconsin cheddar cheese is perfectly melty, and the tomato chutney adds just a touch of sweetness, but the parmesan-crusted sourdough bread that holds everything inside is what really makes this grilled cheese sandwich something special. The marriage of cheddar, just a little sharp, and that crisp Parmesan that has just the right hint of funk will have you looking at cheese in a whole new way. There’s also a meaty, manly cheese steak sandwich on the menu, but honestly, the grilled cheese is the better option.
Related: Best Sandwiches In Minnesota
858 Payne Ave.
St Paul, MN 55130
So maybe this is cheating, as this sandwich is actually more of a burger, but it had to be on this list. Two grilled cheese sandwiches make up the bun, and while it might sound like something you’d see on Man Vs. Food, it’s actually quite a manageable meal. Who are we kidding? It’s a monster. Bringing someone to share it with might be a smart move. But boy, is it delicious. The grilled cheese are simple and tasty, adding just the right amount of gooey goodness around a delectable burger patty. Head over to St. Paul’s East Side (Eat Side?) and try it out.
St. Paul Cheese Shop
1573 Grand Ave.
St Paul, MN 55105
This offshoot of France 44 has all the big flavor of Minneapolis and all of the quaint charm best found in St. Paul. You can get variations of grilled cheese here, whether you go from the menu and order something like the Cheesemonger, which adds soppressata to provolone cheese and pepper-onion relish, or do it with chevre (goat’s milk cheese) for something a littler different. The incredibly knowledgeable staff will have plenty of suggestions for you as well if you’re looking to make one at home, and they have all the cheese you could ever hope for to do it.
Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at Examiner.com, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.