Our mission this week was to find the best grilled cheese in Southeast Wisconsin. When selecting the places referred to us by our Facebook page members, it was important that the sandwich be primarily a grilled cheese. If there were more than one or two ingredients other than cheese, we eliminated it as it would be just too difficult to compare with the other places.
Coming in at No. 3:
Ferch’s Malt Shoppe and Grille, Greendale, Wisconsin.
Cute place in Greendale that looks to be exactly the type of place to have a great grilled cheese. We tasted a good grilled cheese. but a few flaws which kept it from being great. Forget grilled cheese, if you are looking for a White Cake Batter Malt (and you should be), immediately head over to Ferch’s because it was phenomenal.
The Grilled Cheese comes with fries for $6.49. I upgraded to garlic fries for $1.00 extra.
Ferch’s uses three slices of American cheese in their sandwich. I have no problem with that at all; American Cheese is my preferred cheese of choice for grilled cheese. The problems were that the cheese was not completely oozing and hot when it arrived; the middle of the sandwich was almost lukewarm Also, the exterior crisp was only on the very surface, versus the deep exterior crisp at the other locations. Finally, the fat used to grill the exterior of the bread had a very slight off taste, it wasn’t buttery goodness.
Our No. 2 choice, and the place to go if you want a grilled cheese just like Mom’s
The Sausage Kitchen, 1706 Rapids, Racine, Wisconsin.
Sausage Kitchen is a store offering deli meats, unusual breads and other German/European foods as well as a counter-order restaurant. Its been in Racine for years and has old menu and photos framed on the wall to prove it
Grilled cheese,steak fries with coleslaw will set you back only $5.75. There was also sign offering a “pizza grilled cheese” which could be interesting.
Two slices of american cheese on white bread, grilled to perfection with the cheese oozing out of the bread. The exterior crust was crispy and buttery. If you are craving grilled cheese just like Mom made, get on over to the Sausage Kitchen.
And our unanimous winner with a GREAT grilled cheese sandwich that Mom couldn’t even dream of making
Mars Cheese Castle, 2800 West Frontage Road, Kenosha, Wisconsin
As a result of Highway expansion, Mars has a spanking brand new store, bar and restaurant, which are all usually filled with tourists in the summer and early fall. Towards the back of the store is a counter-service restaurant with about eight tables. (This is separate from the bar area which has additional tables)
From the photo you can see the menu board which simply offers a “grilled cheese” for $5.99 with your choice of potato salad (german or american), and a pickle slice. You can choose the cheese type including Swiss, Cheddar, Pepperjack and Muenster, along with the type of bread.
The Sandwich King Jeff Mauro from the Food Network filmed part of an episode recently, reportedly swooning over the grilled cheese. The tables have menus which offer the very grilled cheese that was tried by Jeff Mauro: Sharp Cheddar and Butterkase Brick on Light Rye Bread.
We tried three grilled cheeses, White bread with Cheddar, White Bread with Muenster, and Rye Bread with Pepper jack and Bacon.
The cheese on all three sandwiches was melted perfectly and the exterior crust was thick, buttery and delicious. Don’t be afraid to try muenster or pepper jack, these cheeses melt wonderfully. The $5.99 price was reasonable and the potato salad and pickle seem more fitting as a side than french fries. (Bacon adds $1.00 to the price; we wished the bacon was a little crisper)
“Fancy” grilled cheeses sometimes go overboard by using thick breads which take away from the star of the show, the cheese. The key is that thick crispy crust, if it is too surface, or it it doesn’t hit the corners, we have a problem. I am already thinking of what cheese combination I want to try next at Mars and open to suggestions.