While school lunch could be gag-inducing, there was one item on that paper menu that everyone looked forward to: grilled cheese!

In Philly, there are plenty of places to get a grown-up taste of your childhood favorite — without the cantankerous lunch lady. Here’s where to get the most decadent, cheese-tastic sandwiches in town. – Chelsea Karnash

Some claim this is the best grilled cheese sandwich in the city, and they aren’t wrong. For a cheesy trip you’ll never forget, tear into Good Dog’s mix of fresh mozzarella, house-cured pork loin, baked tomato marmalade and watercress on basil-butter grilled French bread. Did we mention the sweet potato/regular potato fry mix your sandwich comes with is pretty awesome too?

This 50s-throwback restaurant is all about simple, tasty comfort food – something that’s totally underrated in the restaurant industry. For a no fuss meal that tastes just like Mom whipped it up in the kitchen, pair the restaurant’s buttery, toasty grilled cheese sandwich with a cup of tomato soup. Happiness is served!

A relative newcomer to the Philly cheese scene, MeltKraft has wasted no time establishing its (scrumptious) brand: farm-to-table, artisan grilled cheese sammies slathered with delectable toppings. On weekends, there’s a kid-friendly grilled cheese, but seriously, go big or go home here. Our picks? The Brielle, composed of brie, cranberry chutney, pine nuts and caramelized onions; or the Melter Skelter, which combines Valley Shepherd Creamery’s “Melter Skelter” cheese with pickled green tomatoes, jalapeno, barbecue chips and watercress. Out. Of. This. World.

(Credit: Hadas Kuznits)

(Credit: Hadas Kuznits)

With more than 30 grilled cheese sandwiches on the menu and an ever-changing Grilled Cheese calendar, it would have been a travesty not to include Collingswood’s The Pop Shop on this list, even if it’s not actually in Philly. Previous specialty grilled cheese sandwiches have included the Peachy Keen Grilled Cheese (sharp cheddar, grilled peaches, candied bacon and whole grain mustard on ciabatta), the Crabby Patty Grilled Cheese (crab, Swiss, avocado, red onion and cracked black pepper on country white) and the French Onion Grilled Cheese (Gruyere cheese, onion jam, caramelized onion and Worcestershire sauce on rye). Yum!

An under-the-radar speakeasy that also excels in the art of grilled cheese making? Seems like an odd but ideal combo, and here, it works. Stop by the Taproom after a night out (the kitchen’s open late!) for the Grilled Cheese of the Day and a craft beer, and you’ll satisfy both your inner child and the outward adult.

Grilled cheese from Royal Tavern. (credit: Suzanne Woods)

Grilled cheese from Royal Tavern. (credit: Suzanne Woods)

Somehow, this East Passyunk bar and restaurant makes décor that would normally scream tacky seem merely fun and kitschy. Take, for example, the multicolored Christmas lights haphazardly strung around the restaurant. Or the 80s-ish dark wood interior. Hideous, right? But when paired with the Tavern’s food – and the grilled cheese in particular — they morph into something charming. Bite into this perfectly crunchy mix of gouda, provolone and goat cheese amply slathered between two slices of French boule and you’ll see for yourself.

Say Cheese Truck

Various locations

A food truck devoted entirely to cheese concoctions? Amazing! While the traditional grilled cheese with Jersey tomatoes receives rave reviews, Say Cheese also offers a rotating selection of specialty sandwiches and paninis. Oh, and don’t skip the sweet potato fries with maple dipping sauce – yum!
Follow this truck on Twitter to find out where it’s parked at any given time.