Layers of cheese melted between thick slices of bread—the classic grilled cheese is hard to beat. We’ve loved a good melt since we were kids, and New York City is far from over this cheesy sandwich. Chefs and sandwich aficionados have kicked it up a notch, stacking and melting gourmet grilled cheeses that we can bet your mother never made you. Serving up savory, sweet, and saucy melts, here are six NYC grilled cheese shops that you really need to visit.
55 W 26th Street
The grilled cheese gurus at Melt Shop, serving at five locations in Manhattan, are determined to make the “best damn sandwich on the planet.” And, well, their savory-sweet melts like the “Truffle Melt” (havarti, truffle oil, and arugula on sourdough) and the “Maple Bacon” (aged cheddar, house-made ‘brick spread,’ and maple-glazed bacon on white bread) are pretty damn good. They’re even better with a side of tater tots and a milkshake (try the “Heath Bar Crunch” or “Nutella-Fluff”).
La Maison du Croque Monsieur
17 East 13th Street
Dedicated to croque monsieurs and gourmet grilled cheeses, La Maison du Croque Monsieur–which has a sister café in Paris–occupies a space that was once the home of an erotic novelist from the ‘40s named Anaïs Nin. The retro café’s grilled cheese sandwiches are named in honor of the saucy writer and her many gentlemen callers. La Maison’s classic croque Mr. Henry–named after her fellow writer Henry Miller–is made with slow-cooked Jambon de Paris, creamy Béchamel sauce, artisan cheese from Murray’s Cheese, and thick slices of Amy’s Bread.
188 Allen Street
Pair a grilled cheese with a beer or glass of wine at Cheese Grille. These sandwiches, made with bread from Balthazar Bakery, are excellent by themselves or with a bowl of the signature spicy tomato soup or a side of sweet potato tots. Try savory melts, such as the spicy ham and cheese (ham, gruyere, caramelized onions, and Dijon mustard) or dessert sandwiches, like the strawberry grilled cheese (chèvre, strawberry jam, and Speculoos on brioche with a side of ice cream).
442 9th Street
MeltKraft is making a name for itself with a daring grilled cheese menu, offering sandwiches like the “Valley Thunder” (cheddar, beef brisket, and baked macaroni and cheese) and the “Melter Skelter” (raclette, pickled green tomatoes, jalapeno, barbecue potato chips, and watercress). These grilled cheeses are made with artisan cheese from the shop’s own dairy farm in Long Valley, New Jersey.
Hudson Eats at Brookfield Place
225 Liberty Street
They’re “stackin’ cheddar” and other cheeses at Little Muenster, serving a grilled cheese menu that rotates and changes with the seasons. With melted creations like lobster grilled cheese on a brioche bun and roasted butternut squash with asagio, this isn’t your average grilled cheese.
165 Wilson Avenue
New York City’s first build-your-own grilled cheese shop, The Wheelhouse, let’s you customize your grilled cheese from 15 types of cheese. Or, choose one of the sandwich shop’s house specialties, like the “Spicy Buffalo” (cheddar, blue cheese, fried chicken, red onions, and buffalo sauce on sourdough) or the “Grilled Kimcheese” (cheddar, spicy kimchi, and sliced green apples on multigrain).