You don't need an excuse to eat a grilled cheese sandwich; any day when you need just a little extra love is the right day. But April 12 is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, so this is the ideal time to treat yourself to something special — and make it even more nostalgic with a side of soup. Here are the best grilled cheese sandwiches in Denver, in alphabetical order.
1284 South Pearl Street
Is Aiko Pops a popsicle shop with sandwiches or a sandwich shop with frozen treats? Just get both, starting with the Curd: a grilled cheese sandwich built on Texas toast and stuffed with nutty housemade pesto, a fat slice of tomato and gooey Muenster cheese. It's a light, crisp sandwich with a punch of bright basil flavor.
7352 East 29th Avenue
The Berkshire may be hog heaven for pork fanatics, but cheese lovers can also indulge their crush with a trio of aged cheddar, American and provolone cheeses melted between slices of sourdough bread. Mom would approve of the Berkshire's tomato soup, too, which comes with the sandwich. If you can't resist the call of the swine, you can add bacon to your grilled cheese for just a couple of bucks.
City Bakery Cafe
726 Lincoln Street
A good sandwich starts with the bread, and you know you're in goods hands with City Bakery, which bakes up some incredible loaves for the cafe's sandwiches. The grilled cheese here is done Italian style, with provolone and tomato on rosemary and kalamata olive sourdough crisped in a panini press. For something a little more Southwestern, check the specials board for a meatier number loaded with ham, cheddar and poblanos on poblano-studded bread.
Culture Meat & Cheese
2669 Larimer Street
Head inside Denver Central Market for a crusty grilled cheese sandwich built on a baguette at Culture, the market's salumeria and cheese shop. These folks know their dairy, so your sandwich will be made with soft Vermont Creamery fromage blanc, pungent Beemster XO Gouda and New Bridge aged cheddar. Add a side of housemade tomato soup for a touch of tomatoey zing. Happy hour at the market brings miniature versions of this delectable bite for only $3 each.
Dunbar Kitchen & Tap House
2844 Welton Street
You'll find a classic grilled cheese sandwich and soup combo at this Five Points pub. Just look for the "Best D*** Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup EVER" on the menu. A generous swath of Swiss, provolone and cheddar forms the molten center, cradled by toasty slices of Blue Point Bakery sourdough. The kitchen also adds a swipe of roasted garlic spread for a hint of extra flavor that pairs nicely with the house San Marzano tomato soup.
619 East 13th Avenue
If you're in for a couple of cocktails at this airy Capitol Hill bar, you'll want a little something in your stomach to help absorb the booze. Hudson Hill's grilled cheese is a clever, mind-blowing construction — because it's inside out. A length of baguette is sliced open and folded so that the crust is on the inside. The outside gets a generous slathering of European butter while a mouthwatering combo of bleu and Parmesan go inside. The result is crunchy, crusty, buttery and delicious — a bar snack that holds its own against bold cocktails.
Mercantile Dining & Provision
1701 Wynkoop Street
Lunchtime brings a rotating soup and grilled cheese sandwich pairing to Mercantile, a great place to indulge your cheese craving, since much of the dairy comes from the restaurant's own Fruition Farm, or from other artisan dairies in Colorado and beyond. Such creative combinations as white cheddar, olives and prosciutto (pictured above) keep customers coming back for the daily special built on house-baked bread.
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1460 Larimer Street
Fig spread is the secret to the grilled cheese sandwich at Tom's, which holds down the corner of 15th and Larimer streets in Larimer Square. Fontina, Brie and havarti make for a creamy blend with a touch of European funk and complexity to offset the sweetness of the figs. Toss in some bacon to put this one over the top.
The Truffle Table
2556 15th Street
Leave it to cheese specialists to throw down not one, but two fancy grilled cheese sandwiches that evoke childhood memories while also adding layers of flavor for adult palates. A goat-cheese-and-pesto combo tastes like summer, while the cheddar, bacon and chipotle-tomato jam sandwich comes in a little sultry and smoky, perfect for chilly weather. And, of course, the Truffle Table offers its own tomato soup to make you even more misty with remembrance.