515 Springfield Rd., Kenilworth
There’s no question as to this spot’s specialty. Build your own sammie, and consider additions like fresh roast beef, feta, potato chips, balsamic portobello and sriracha. Or let the chef do his thing and go with one of the shops combos, like the Carnegie, with cheddar, swiss, roast turkey, bacon, coleslaw, roasted red peppers and thousand island on rye, or the 5 Way made with Monterey jack, cheddar, swiss, mutz , provolone and garlic butter on white. Don’t miss out on dessert either: the Apple Pie (cheddar, caramelized apple and cinnamon on a glazed donut) and the S’more Please (mascarpone, graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows on a glazed donut).
The Cheese Cave
14 Monmouth St., Red Bank
This artisanal shop has exquisite specialty cheeses from the US and beyond, plus cured meats, bread, olives and more cheese plate essentials, which means you can get amazing ingredients to make your own sandwiches at home. But, if you want them to do the work for you, try the Grilled French Onion, packed with caramelized onions and grand cru surchoix on sourdough. Want something more unconventional? Get the Pig and Fig, a baguette piled high with rosemary ham, brie and fig jam.
108 Easton Ave., New Brunswick
This eatery is all about ooey-gooey comfort food, and their selection of 39 grilled cheeses shows it. Get the R U Caliente packed with fontina cheese, buffalo chicken and baked house nachos, the R U a Cowboy with yellow and provolone cheeses, cheesesteak, cheeseburger, onion rings and BBQ sauce, the Prime CHEEZEN with swiss, fontina, slow-roasted prime rib and horseradish caramelized onion mayo or the Prosciutto Caprese, made with mozzarella, gruyere, prosciutto, Jersey tomatoes and basil pesto aioli.
101 Miln St., Cranford
This gourmet grub hub aims to “treat each sandwich like a French delicacy.” Start your meal with homemade tomato bisque, mozzarella balls with honey dijon, or gooey macaroni balls with garlic parm sauce. Follow up with a Parisian-inspired number, the Croque Monsieur, made with gruyere, ham, dijon and bechamel, keep it fresh with the Chèvre, served with goat cheese, arugula and fig chutney, or go for something unique like the Érable, stacked with sharp white cheddar, pistou (France’s take on pesto) and pure maple syrup.
The Grilled Cheese and Crab Cake Co.
55 W. Laurel Dr., Somers Point
If you need convincing to make the trip, this spot already has Guy Fieri’s seal of approval, as it was featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. In perfect Jersey Shore fashion, the Crabby Bacon Fries, fries topped with creamy crab soup, bacon and Old Bay, are a must-have item, as well as the crab balls and cakes. You can build your own mac ‘n’ cheese or grilled cheese, but you’re guaranteed to love something on the specialty sandwich. Get the Crab Melt, packed with a Maryland crab cake, tomato and Monterey jack, or try The Triple D Melt, built by Guy Fieri himself: smoked gouda, smoked brat, onion rings, fried egg, pepper jack, jalapeños and sriracha.
The Heights Bar and Grill
163 Boulevard, Hasbrouck Heights
This casual spot is more than your average local bar. With a totally revamped menu, HBG offers seven grilled cheeses available on rustic white, whole wheat or rye. Keep it simple with this resto’s mainstay, which comes with bacon, tomato and avocado. Or go Italian with the Prosciutto and Cheese, made with thin-sliced prosciutto, roasted bell peppers and fresh mozzarella. Bring your appetite for the Short Rib, stacked with braised short rib, provolone, caramelized onion and arugula, and keep it light with the Pear and Goat Cheese. And for the kids, you can’t go wrong with the Bacon Mac n Cheese sammie.
Jack’s Lobster Shack
1040 River Rd., Edgewater
This seafood spot is the real deal, and boasts lobster as tasty as Maine’s. While the classic steampot with lobster, clams, mussels, shrimp and all the fixins’ is a go-to, this Bergen County gem makes a mean grilled cheese stuffed with, of course, lobster meat. Thick with cheddar and arugula, you can’t go wrong. Looking for other cheesy options? Opt for the truffle lobster mac and cheese, or the lobster fettuccine alfredo.
Melt Factory Grilled Cheese
28 Morris St., Morristown
This specialty shop keeps it simple. Get a classic grilled cheese with tomato, show your state pride with the Jersey Special, made with Taylor ham and American, spice it up with the Buffalo Chicken or indulge with the Cheesy Mac and Rib, stacked with pulled pork and mac and cheese. Make it a perfect meal by ordering a side of tomato or broccoli cheddar soup.
Locations in Jersey City and Rockaway (Edison opening the week of 4/15)
Not only does this locale take grilled cheese to the next level, but also over-the-top tater tots, burgers and chicken tenders. In honor of National Grilled Cheese Day, the Notorious Chz—a triple-decker on parmesan-crusted bread loaded with cheddar, muenster, pepper jack, brick cheddar cheese spread and truffle mayo—will be available all April long.
The Office Tavern Grill
Locations in Morristown, Ridgewood and Summit
On April 12-14, this chain will be whipping up a Loaded Grilled Cheese at all of its locations. This beast is packed with applewood smoked bacon, cheddar and American cheeses and deli mustard, then topped with a sunny side up egg and served with a side salad. Can’t make it this weekend? Get one any other weekend during brunch.
The Old Mill Inn & Grain House Restaurant
225 Rte. 202, Basking Ridge
Grilled cheese is no joke at this Somerset fave. The spot’s annual Grilled Cheese Month is a killer celebration of all things ooey-gooey. Every weekday in April at lunch, a new kind of toasty sammy is served up, as per the chef’s month-long schedule of cheese-filled creations. Standouts include the Jersey Shore, made with pork roll, cheddar and tomato on a local bagel, the Wild Mushroom packed with gouda and kale, the Italian-inspired combo of soppressata, provolone and fig and pistachio jam, and the Happy Thanksgiving, piled high with roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and havarti.
The Pop Shop
729 Haddon Ave., Collingswood
This café and creamery is super kid-friendly, as it’s the site of events like Easter Brunch with the Bunny, Superhero Training Camp, LEGO nights and pajama parties. You can come here for shakes, burgers, salads and more lunch fixes, but the grilled cheese menu is a big claim to fame. Choose from 30+ sandwiches, like the Park (American cheese on a split Philadelphia soft pretzel), the Lobster Grilled Cheese (lobster, brie, garlic aioli on sourdough), the Belmont (cheddar, chicken fingers, honey mustard on Belgian waffles) and the Madison (mozzarella, tomato, basil, garlic olive oil on white).
Say Cheez Cafe
183-D Nassau St., Princeton
Choose from 15 cheeses, 12 non-GMO breads and assorted toppings, sauces and meats. From omelets to empanadas to gyros, there’s something for everyone here. But the signature Grilled Cheez is a go-to, as it comes with your choice of cheese and bread, plus a tomato basil soup dipper on the side. The kids will go crazy for the Mac & Cheez grilled number, while you can indulge in The Glazed Haze, a monstrous combo of cheddar and pepper jack on a glazed donut. Vegans and gluten-free eaters welcome.
The Shannon Rose Irish Pub
Locations in Clifton and Ramsey
The legendary Murdered Grilled Cheese will be available from April 12-14 at both locations. This ooey-gooey goody uses sourdough bread loaded with American, pepper jack and NY cheddar cheeses and dijon mustard. Then, it all gets deep-fried in Harp beer batter.
Steve’s Grilled Cheese and Quesadilla Company
Locations in Glassboro, Mays Landing, Ocean City, Sea Isle City and Wildwood
A shore staple, Steve’s boasts hand-cut fries, homemade sauces and fresh chicken. Get your fix in many forms, like a creamy Mac N Cheese bowl (there’s everything from tex-mex to buffalo chicken), top-tier quesadillas (do you dare to try the Hawaiian, packed with ham, pineapple, American and pepper jack?), and, of course, 17 grilled cheeses. Highlights include the Mushroom and Feta, stuffed with four cheeses and sauteed arugula, the Chicken Parm made with homemade spicy marinara and basil pesto, and the BLT, full of swiss, bacon and Roma tomato.