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The search for the most unique grilled cheese sandwiches in C-U

I’ve always loved grilled cheese. I wanted to see which restaurants in Champaign-Urbana took the comfort food to the next level,  so I decided that the best way to find new and creative grilled cheese sandwiches was to try as many as I could humanly consume without my blood turning into straight cheese. I went to Common Ground Food Co-op, Cracked, Seven Saints, and Sun Singer to try each of their grilled cheese sandwiches. 

The first stop on my journey was Seven Saints. My friends and I went on a Wednesday night and we surprised that there was no wait. We sat down and the tomato and pesto gourmet grilled cheese ($7.49) immediately caught my eye. The sandwich is toasted sourdough bread with cheddar cheese, swiss cheese, tomatoes, and basil pesto. All sandwiches come with one side, so I ordered waffle fries. Our food came quickly and upon pulling apart my sandwich, the cheese bridge that resulted was insane. Seven Saints knows how to pile on the cheese. The sandwich was amazing; the tomatoes added a juicy element and the pesto gave the sandwich a special taste that made me eat the whole thing within ten minutes. The sandwich is also pretty big, which was nice for the price, and getting a side is definitely a plus. Overall, this was one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I have ever had.

The next grilled cheese on my list was Cracked’s breakfast sandwich, the vegasm ($7.50). While this is technically not a grilled cheese, it’s the closest the restaurant has to one, and I figured that a breakfast grilled cheese is not the worst way to start the day. Right now, Cracked only has a food truck that the company tweets the location of, but it will soon have a storefront on Green Street. The vegasm has spinach, sun dried tomatoes, hash browns, a fried egg, sharp cheddar cheese, and the choice of garlic basil or spicy chipotle pesto on a crispy bun. I chose the garlic basil pesto and only had to wait a few minutes before receiving my sandwich. Although the spinach was a little overwhelming, the crispiness of the hash brown and the sharp cheddar taste really worked together to create a great breakfast “grilled cheese.”

The third stop on my journey was Common Ground Co-op for the grown-up toasted cheese ($7.99). You get to choose your bread and it comes with Ropp cheddar, cojack and baby Swiss cheese, tomatoes, avocado, and spinach. You also get the option of chips or a drink for no additional charge. I was given a slip to bring to the cashier at the front and by the time I paid and returned to the deli counter, it only took about two more minutes to get my sandwich. I was slightly disappointed in this sandwich. The cheese wasn’t melted, and I found the flavors of the cheeses to be a little too harsh and overwhelming. The addition of avocado was really nice.

Finally, I went to Sun Singer for its take on the grilled cheese: the grilled cheese supreme ($11), and it truly was supreme. Although it was the most expensive sandwich I ate, it was quite large with Danish fontina, white cheddar cheese, granny smith apples, and fig jam on grilled challah. When I pulled apart this sandwich, the cheese bridge easily surpassed that of Seven Saints. The apples and fig jam at first seemed strange to put on a grilled cheese, but after biting into the sandwich I realized how much they added. The crunch of the apples and added sweetness of the jam really brought up this sandwich and made it one of the most unique grilled cheeses I have ever eaten.

Overall, you can’t really go wrong wherever you stop for a grilled cheese in the area, but Sun Singer definitely had the most unique of the bunch. So stop by Cracked, Seven Saints, Common Ground Co-op, or Sun Singer for a treat you won’t regret. 

All photos by Kristin D’Antonio. 

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