Chi’s (assistant property manager of Alvern Gardens Apartments) talk of restaurants in the South Hills has inspired us to compile a countdown of the 3 best grilled cheese sandwiches in Pittsburgh. Why grilled cheese sandwiches? Why not? They’re deliciously simple and yet easy to amp up with extras. From extra cheese to extra toppings, here’s our ranking:
3. Touted by Chi as great place to hang with friends, Cain’s Saloon serves a “deluxe” grilled cheese featuring tomato, a fried egg, and bacon. The sandwich normally comes with traditional American cheese, but the menu recommends trying it with pepper jack (we stuck with the traditional). Who doesn’t love a fried egg and bacon on their sandwich? Unfortunately for Cain’s take on the classic, the Italian bread it’s served on makes for a bulky sandwich that’s a little hard to eat for anyone who doesn’t have the unthinkable jaws of a snake.
2. Cafe io’s grilled cheese is a little more grown up: cheddar and Gorgonzola come standard, and if you’re feeling adventurous, you can add tomato and/or pickles. For a few dollars more, your sandwich gets a fried egg and/or bacon. This build-your-own concept is fun, but for the purpose of the countdown we taste-tested just the standard sandwich (on wheat rather than white). The amount of cheese was perfect, and the ration of cheddar to Gorgonzola was just right. On top of it, the sandwich was grilled to perfection. With all the fixin’s, it might have claimed the top spot, but the standard is just the PG-13 version of a childhood favorite.
1. For a rated R grilled cheese experience, go to the Blue Line Grille and order their “adulterated” grilled cheese. This one comes with cheddar, Gorgonzola, and Swiss and is topped off with bacon onion jam. What is bacon onion jam? Delicious. It’s caramelized onions mixed with pieces of bacon (real pieces of bacon, not bacon bits). That, combined with the mix of cheeses makes for a grilled cheese of complex, elegantly balanced flavors. This sandwich wins because it’s a true culinary experiences.
Bonus Round: At PNC Park, you can order a 9 cheese grilled cheese sandwich, aptly named “The Closer.” It’s served on 4 slices of sour dough and comes with bacon and all kinds of other goodies. We didn’t get a chance to to try it for this countdown, but our research suggests it might be the real #1 grilled cheese in Pittsburgh.
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