OUR RATING: Do it!
Grilled Cheese: an American classic, or at least a quick bite. Cheesie’s Pub & Grub, located in Lakeview right next to Berlin and near the Belmont Red Line stop, seems set to take the esteemed position of hangover hangout. It’s definitely divey, with some fun and colorful revamps of famous paintings littering the wall and chalkboard tables. With ten or so quality grilled cheese sandwiches on the menu, it’s hard to go wrong if you want basic food at cheap prices, and also if you want to be convivial in a laid back atmosphere. Complete with a full bar, you can continue your revelry inside, or just grab a sandwich and settle down – we leave the choice to you.
Adam: Grilled cheese is not perhaps the first thing I think of eating late at night – Chinese probably takes the top spot. But, with a pleasant environment and tasty food, Cheesie’s definitely has a lot going for it. Very aware that I should be balancing out the preponderance of cholesterol in the run-of-the-mill grilled cheese, I gravitated towards their Caprese. While I think that anyone from Capri would probably be furious with me for accepting what they would think of as a bastardization, I was absolutely loving the thick mozzarella, juicy tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, and basil all smashed together inside a sourdough bun. A side of sour cream and chive dipping sauce made this event of a sandwich even better. My stomach wasn’t completely blitzed, which means this light(er) meal is great late at night.
To supplement this, I tried some fried pickle chips – a crazy good idea. Tart and crunchy they worked a treat and are perhaps the most innovative item on the menu. In fact, I’d love to add these to my Ploughman’s Lunch in the future, but I’m sure I’d have to buy a frier for that, so it probably won’t happen. But further decadence was to be had. For the strong try the 10% abv Root Beer Beer Float. With a dollop of vanilla ice cream in root beer flavored beer, this was adult drink paradise, and upped the diner credentials of Cheesie’s at least three notches. I can see them absolutely prescribing this at an old time drugstore – highly recommended if you want a fun, extremely unusual drink.
Alicia: When I was little, I actually hated grilled cheese, mostly because I couldn’t stomach cheese at all, or any dairy products for that matter. American cheese was the worst. Yet over the years my palate has ‘matured,’ so I’m as big a fan as any of some hot bread and cheese sammies. While American cheese is still my least favorite, and while Cheesie’s sandwich of the month sounded pretty tempting (Veg-e Tales with smoked gouda and veggies on sourdough), I really wanted to go as classic as possible here, so I stuck with the good ol’ Original.
Cheesie’s original grilled cheese sandwich is composed of two thick and luxuriously grilled pieces of Texas Toast, housing both American and Merkt’s cheddar cheese within, and with some must-have tomato soup dipping sauce on the side. My favorite component of the sandwich was definitely the thick slices of Texas Toast, and I was as happy as a clam that while cheesy, the bread was still the ultimate player here, and that grease barely played a part in any bite. The tomato dipping sauce was a bit weak and somewhat odd tasting, but with copious amounts of ketchup available on the table I didn’t fret. Ultimately, I felt that something was missing from this sandwich, and I think I could have gone for a slightly more salty cheese or some kind of herb to add to the mix, but when you ask for classic, that’s pretty much what you’re going to get.
While we thoroughly enjoyed the food and ambiance of Cheesie’s, the service was rather horrific. The cashier was exceptionally rude and the bartender that served us didn’t seem to know what she was doing. After what seemed like ages, we finally got our receipt from the bartender, but we had waited so long the ice cream in our float had practically melted, and our food was getting cold.
Final Thoughts: This place is open super late, and is a great late-night/post-partying option for those who might have the munchies. Whether you go classic or are up for some experimenting, Cheesie’s won’t disappoint you, at least in regards to their comfort foods. Just be careful ordering from the bar.