Grilled cheese is the safest option on any restaurant menu — how can you go wrong with a slice of whole-wheat bread and cheddar cheese? Thankfully, Kansas City understands the hype surrounding grilled cheese and dedicates a whole festival to it. Hosted in the Hyvee Arena, formerly known as the Kemper Arena, the Kansas City Grilled Cheese Festival offered seven different vendors’ takes on cheesy goodness. Read below to see which sandwiches proved their tear-apart-melted-mess worth.
Longboards Wraps and Bowls
Longboards Wraps and Bowls won my token — quite literally, as there were mini tokens to vote on your favorite — for best grilled cheese. Let me clarify — grilled mac n’ cheese. The sweet Hawaiian roll balanced the savory cheesy pasta perfectly, while the size eased my guilt about indulging in at least six variations of grilled cheese in one day. Plus, the added spices gave the creamy cheese sauce an extra kick.
Black Dog Coffeehouse
You would think a coffee house’s specialty would be its vanilla latte, but think again. Black Dog’s triple grilled cheese on sourdough bread offered perfectly layered cheese (think Earth’s layers, but cheddar, American and swiss). The pools of grease bubbled on top of the butter-drenched-bread, adding to the delish factor.
KCMO Parks and Rec
Viewed as the grilled cheese underdog, the Parks and Rec department showed me something I’d take to a picnic at Loose Park — a simple Velveeta, whole-wheat combo. The cheese was so melted it was practically glued to the bread and to my stomach. I’m not sure if they practice making these bite-size masterpieces in their office, but they should seriously consider a job in the restaurant biz.
Based on the fact that it was a taco restaurant trying their hand at a grilled cheese, I should’ve known to skip it and opt for another mac n’ cheese sammy. The toast was burnt and dry (did they seriously forget butter?) and the cheese tasted rubbery. They were also serving chicken tacos and cheese quesadillas — I think they should’ve left it at that.
Click here to watch staffer Ryan Gossick’s video about the festival.