Eight of the Best Boston-area Spots for Grilled Cheese
Say “yes, please” to grilled cheese, from melted stacks of can’t-miss Swiss to gobs of gruyere with a boatload of toppings.
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As far as comfort foods go, grilled cheese is hard to top: Each satisfying bite of crunchy bread and gooey fromage is bound to activate your brain’s euphoria sensors. Where to find the absolute best, though? Whether you celebrate the sandwich in its simplest forms or prefer to pile on the add-ins, these eight eateries around town will show you the whey.
Cheesy Street Grill
Disappointed that you don’t have the option to work from home? Hop in your car, queue up Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5,” and reward yourself with a commute-friendly stop at Cheesy Street Grill, an unexpectedly pleasant surprise located at the Natick and Westborough service plazas on the Mass Pike (and inside Wellesley’s Boston Sports Institute on Route 9). Each shop specializes in toasty grilled cheeses—from American cheese-filled classics to creatively stuffed sendups inspired by Italian subs or French onion soup. The Natick location, though, is the only one where you’ll find the coveted taco grilled cheese, which combines ground beef, guacamole, lettuce, jalapenos, sour cream, and tomatoes with cheddar. And even if you’re able to telecommute, these destination-worthy grilled cheese stations still deserve a detour on your next diversion-seeking road trip.
117 Massachusetts Turnpike, Natick, 617-401-9660; 104 Massachusetts Turnpike, Westborough, 860-930-2472; 900 Worcester St., Wellesley, 781-489-3187, cheesystreetgrill.com.
Curds & Co.
Fromage fiends, you’re in good company at this Brookline cheese and education center, which even offers a monthly cheese-plate-in-a-box subscription service and a smartphone app for finding, notching, and ranking your edible conquests. There’s also two grilled cheeses on the menu at the Brookline brick-and-mortar (and hopefully again at the Boston Public Market offshoot, post-pandemic). The classic sandwich pads pain de mie bread with both cheddar and an alpine-style cheese (similar to a Swiss or a gruyere) from the legendary cellars at Jasper Hill in Vermont. A rotating monthly special, meanwhile, gives the cheesemonger the opportunity to wander to artisanal inspirations both near and far. Take one recent feature: marinated feta from Meredith Dairy in Australia with pickled onions from Alabama’s Stonehollow Farmstead.
288 Washington St., Brookline, 617-879-0565, curdsandco.com.
Foundry on Elm
This gastropub in Davis Square dishes out one of the culinary world’s most popular power couples: Grilled cheese and tomato soup. Here, the cheese is a duet of cheddar and gouda between crispy griddled sourdough. Foundry tops its signature sandwich with a drizzle of smoked honey (you can skip it, but why would you?), a sweet complement to the nutty (and also slightly smoky) gouda. The tomato soup tinged with basil, meanwhile, is a hot tub full of flavor—and trust us, your sandwich very much wants to take a dip.
255 Elm St., Somerville, 617-628-9999, foundryonelm.com.
The Friendly Toast
With a kitsch kitchen in Back Bay and another restaurant in the Burlington Mall, the Friendly Toast offers two options to get your grilled cheese fix. Find a standard version, which sees your pick of cheeses—from classic American or cheddar to jalapeño jack and goat cheese—sandwiched between two slices of your choice of bread (or, go big with one of their fluffy biscuits). The Buffalo chicken grilled cheese, meanwhile, kicks things up a notch: It features Buffalo tenders plus cheddar and bleu cheese doused with ranch and served on grilled oatmeal bread.
35 Stanhope St., Boston, 617-456-7849; 75 Middlesex Turnpike #1015B, Burlington, 781-272-9777, thefriendlytoast.com.
Here in New England, lobster manages to claw its way to the center stage of any dish. At Luke’s Lobster, though, the shellfish shares the spotlight with melted cheddar for an awesome lobster grilled cheese; the slightly sweet lobster meat plays off the earthiness of cheddar for a double-dose of decadence that’s dished out on simple white bread. Although Luke’s shack in the Seaport is temporarily closed, both its Back Bay and Downtown Crossing locations offer a gooey combo of crab and cheese, too.
75 Exeter Street, Boston, 857-350-4626; 290 Washington St., Boston, 857-317-4843, lukeslobster.com.
Roxy’s Grilled Cheese & Burgers
Currently, Roxy’s famous food truck is off the road and its Cambridge restaurant is closed—but fear not, you can still get your fix at the Allston spot. With that in mind, let us never take for granted the city’s pioneering gourmet-grilled-cheese purveyor, known for beloved classics (like the three-cheese blend of Vermont cheddar, fontina, and muenster) as well as playful riffs: Take the hot honey bacon sandwich, with its drizzle of chili-spiked nectar that is pure spicy and sweet (and salty, and savory) heaven. Other options add herbed goat cheese and fig jam to the mix, and all the sandwiches are served up on thick, nearly crust-less pain de mie baked by Iggy’s Bread in Cambridge.
485 Cambridge St., Allston, 617-202-5864, roxysgrilledcheese.com.
Come for the bold Stumptown java, stay for the build-your-own grilled cheese menu. Yes, you heard right: This trio of Boston cafes lets you choose your bread, cheese, and toppings from a buffet of options. But don’t overthink it—each combo is sure to be a slam-dunk. So take your pick between buttery Havarti, tangy Swiss, and nutty gruyere, then ponder add-ons like barbeque sauce, maple honey ham, and pickled onions. All this can slide inside multigrain bread, sourdough, or even bell pepper focaccia, making Thinking Cup a no-brainer when your next grilled-cheese craving strikes.
165 Tremont St., Boston, 617-482-5555; 236 Hanover St., Boston, 857-233-5277; 85 Newbury St., Boston, 617-247-3333, thinkingcup.com.
Veggie Galaxy owes its gravitational pull to its gift for crafting crave-worthy diner fare without falling back on the usual suspects of bacon and sausage. When it comes to the vegetarian spot’s grilled cheese sandwich, for instance, the Vermont cheddar and bright burst of fresh tomato gets some welcome salt and crunch from delicious shiitake “bacon” bits; believe it or not, you might even prefer it to pork. And while you can opt for whole wheat bread or Iggy’s sourdough, we recommend slices of rye—its earthy and slightly bitter bite is a stellar counterpoint to the rich cheese.
450 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-497-1513, veggiegalaxy.com.