Quest for the best grilled cheese in Durango

by Amanda Push

In our May 23 issue, writer Lindsay Mattison took the hard-line stance that grilled cheese sandwiches are indeed dairy crack. We still stand by that statement (so, fight us) but felt the claim warranted further investigation. We already know that homemade grilled cheese is, in the words of Kanye, “God’s vessel” (for clarity’s sake, he was actually talking about himself). Do those same standards apply to our local restaurants, though? Do the chefs of Durango take the art of making a grilled cheese as seriously as we do?

Due to the pressing nature of this subject, we felt it was imperative that we look into the matter on the double. Not doing so would be gross misconduct of journalistic integrity of the highest order. It’s time to draw a line in the sand and take a stance on where we stand on the issue of grilled cheese sandwiches.

Gianni’s Oven & Grill2477 Main Avenue, Durango, Colo.We gotta say, we were most impressed with the chef from Gianni’s cheese and bread creation. Here, the name of the game is thicc. Thicc slabs of Texas Toast. Thicc chunks of bacon. And a thicc amount of molten, stringy cheese. This ultimate comfort food sandwich at this hole-in-the-wall Main Avenue establishment was satisfying in a way that only Friday happy hours are. These delicious delicacies are only $5 a pop if you just want to go with the classic sandwich. If spicing things up is up your alley, for a mere $1.50, you can add bacon, ham, or tomato.

Durango Diner957 Main Avenue, Durango, Colo.The grilled cheese at Durango Diner is a testament to the simple, no-frills, no-drama deliciousness of this heavenly sandwich. When you take your seat at this downtown diner, you can pretty much expect to get this simple order served to you in about 10 minutes (when it’s not busy, anyway). The bread here comes on the thinner, crispier side, which may be good or bad depending on your take. On one hand, if you’re all about bread that’s a neg. If you’re more focused on the cheese aspect, though, then less bread gives you the chance to savor the dairy a lot more. These sandwiches go for $6 a piece.

College Drive Cafe666 East College Drive, Durango, Colo.College Drive Cafe hits the nail on the bread when it comes to cooking their carbs. A golden landscape of bread and perfectly crisped edges pulls this sandwich together nicely, but the star of the show is definitely the dairy. College Drive goes all out when it comes to the cheese, and slaps cheddar, jack, swiss, and cotija between two pieces of whole wheat bread. Pulling the sandwich halves apart and watching the melted cheese drip down is indeed the equivalent of watching a very greasy food porn. Don’t believe us? Swing on over to this College Drive eatery and see these $6.50 sandwiches for yourself. For $1 more, you can add avocado or tomato.

CJ’s Diner810 East College Drive, Durango, Colo.Like Durango Diner, CJ’s Diner keeps things simple when it comes to grilled cheese. Looking at it and taking the first few bites were nostalgic, a blast from the past during that time in childhood when you’d sit at the dinner table and munch down on a cheesy sandwich next to a bowl of tomato soup. American cheese on white bread – this $6.50 sandwich doesn’t get more classic than that.

Kassidy’s Kitchen171 Suttle Street #A, Durango, Colo.Even 15 minutes before they close, Kassidy’s Kitchen is abuzz with patrons scraping their plates or ordering to-go meals before the restaurant closes its doors. Here at Kassidy’s, you can get a simple grilled cheese with four slices of “melty goodness” for $6.25 or switch it up with a grilled meat and cheese (bacon, ham, turkey, or roast beef) for $8.95. As we are staunch pork fans, we went with bacon (the obvious choice) and cheddar on wheat. The cooks at Kassidy’s keep things crisp. Personally, we would have preferred a more cheese to bacon ratio, but the amount of meaty protein was a welcome switch up to the amount of cheese we’ve been consuming.

Amanda Push


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