Grilled Cheese and tomato soup
Grilled cheese and soup. Courtesy photo

Boulder’s Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches


It should be a government-sanctioned national holiday with paid time off. April 12 is Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day in the United States.

Not much evokes more comfort and childhood nostalgia than a gooey, delicious grilled cheeser. Put it on a plate next to a bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup and maybe drape a knitted afghan over your shoulders, and you’ve reached the pinnacle of coziness.

There are two different schools of grilled cheese sandwiches.

The first, the old-school way, is three ingredients: bread, cheese and butter. The type of bread (squishy Wonder Bread, sourdough, healthy whole-grain) has more variation, but the type of cheese must be orange: American, cheddar, Colby-Jack. (Whether you take your American in plastic, processed singles form or real-food shape is up to you and your digestion.) Omitting the butter is tragic and will not be tolerated or even discussed.

The other school of grilled cheesers is more creative. Of course, it still includes those three crucial foundational ingredients. But the cheese type can get wild: Havarti, goat cheese, brie, Gruyere, you name it. And you can toss in veggies (tomatoes, jalapenos) or even fruits (pears, apples) and smear on condiments (dijon, aioli). Some food innovators even add in meat (bacon, burgers, chicken) and other toppings (fried egg, truffles, jam). Mix and match and make a grown-up grilled cheese sandwich to match your cravings.

Now that you’re hungry and ready to celebrate Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day every day, here are some of our favorite places in Boulder to get a grilled cheese sandwich.

A grilled cheese sandwich at Cured. Photo by Casey Christensen

1. Cured

Cured specializes in hand-picked cheese and charcuterie, so it’s no surprise is knocks its grilled cheese sandwich out of the ballpark. A grilled cheese sandwich is a signature almost every day on Cured’s menu, with constantly rotating flavors. You have to pop in to see the surprise of the day. But one thing you can always expect: Cured’s sandwiches are among Boulder’s best.

A grilled cheese sandwich at Shine. Photo by Casey Christensen

2. Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place

“Oh, do we ever have a grilled cheese!”

That’s how Shine co-owner Jennifer Emich introduces her grilled cheese sandwich, the Grilled Cheddar and Tomato Confit.

A few things distinguish Shine’s grilled cheesers. First, they’re served on house-made gluten-free bread, seared in ghee; Shine is a completely gluten-free restaurant. Second, they’re “made with intention.” That’s the cornerstone of Shine, which calls its selection “holistic comfort food.” Third, Shine is run by three triplets. So it retains a sweet, homey, family feeling. And that seeps into the flavors and experience.

Kick up your Grilled Cheddar by adding local chicken, local bacon or a sunny-side-up egg.

3. Mountain Sun

Got a specific vision for exactly how you like your grilled cheese sandwich? Head to Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery on Pearl Street, which offers a build-your-own grilled cheese option on its menu.

Prefer it pure and cheesy? Order a Basic, which comes with corn chips, fries, soup or salad.

Feeling adulty? Add mushrooms and onions, bacon, pesto, tomatoes or avocado. Each topping has a small surcharge but it’s worth it to get your sandwich just the way yo’ mama used to make it.

4. The Village Coffee Shop

It’s hard to find a better option for comfort food than this locally-owned mom-and-pop shop. Naturally, the Village Coffee Shop has mastered the classic grilled cheese sandwich (and for a super low price, only $3.75), with tasty cheese on perfectly toasted bread. Augment your sandwich with bacon (and don’t forget to get a side of fries, the best in town). If you’re craving meat, the Village also has a grilled ham and cheese and a grilled ham and Swiss on rye.

5. The Walnut Cafe

Head to the Walnut Cafe for a unique twist on a grilled cheese sandwich that totally works. The Santa Fe Grilled Cheese sandwich has the necessary melted cheddar, of course, served on grilled sourdough. But then, wedged in the melty goodness are tomatoes and green chiles.

The Walnut also has simpler variations, if you aren’t into the spice. Its three-cheese grilled cheese can be ordered as a half or a whole.

Or get the turkey and Swiss, ham and cheddar or tuna salad and Swiss toasted.

6. Snarf’s Sandwiches

Snarf’s is sandwiches, so killer grilled cheese sandwiches are a given. The casual restaurant’s kids menu’s grilled cheesers are simple perfection (whether you’re a little kid or a big one). Snarf’s also makes a cheese and mushroom sandwich with three types of cheese: American, Swiss and provolone. Snarf’s offers freshly baked, gluten-free bread, if you can’t do the glutens. Tip: Check out the Not On The Menu Menu for more options.

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december, 2023

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