The first day of fall is Saturday, September 23—the same day as the autumn equinox. For me and mine, nothing says “Cozy fall meal” more than a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup!
In Chicago’s Lakeview and Wicker Park neighborhoods, no one delivers on the promise of a gooey, cheesy grilled sandwich better than Cheesie’s Pub & Grub.
My family and I happened on Cheesie’s while looking for a place to eat before seeing Herb Alpert and Lani Hall at theVic Theatre. We asked one of the security guards where we could get a quick bite. He recommended Cheesie’s, right around the corner from the Lakeview location. The friendly staff seated us immediately. It’s a super-casual, kid-friendly, bustling spot with lots of memorabilia on the walls—vintage ads, sports posters, etc. And it’s the home base in Chicago for Michigan State Spartans and San Francisco 49ers football.
The menu was inspired by owner Chris Johnston’s “terrible eating habits and love for foods he grew up on: mac-n-cheese, chicken tenders, French fries, and grilled cheese.”
A word of caution for those new to the digital age: there are no paper menus. You access the menu through a scanner at your table. The staff will pull you through it if you don’t have a child 25 years old or younger to help!
I highly recommend The Caprese, the sandwich I tried. It’s a great caprese combination of gooey mozzarella cheese, heirloom tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, cracked black pepper and fresh basil on toasted sourdough, and served w/creamy pesto mayo dipping sauce. I felt no need to dip, though I’m sure it was great. I just enjoyed the layered succulence of the squeaky cheese, ripe heirloom tomatoes, and basil, set off by the fresh sourdough bread.
My sister from another mister ordered a dessert item that works just as well as a main course—their Deep Fried PB&J Uncrustable. The deep-frying gave the creamy peanut butter an extra richness and savory flavor you can’t find in a regular Uncrustable, and it’s set off by the sweetness of the jelly. The sandwich is complete when topped with powdered sugar and served with chocolate dipping sauce.
My 96-year-old mother waxed rhapsodic about The OG– ablendof American and Cheddar cheese spread on Texas toast, served with their Tomato Soup dip. The tomato soup is a tangy accoutrement to the cheese blend.
Finally, for those with a lactose intolerance, there’s always moist Chicken Tenders. They’re huge… my 18-year-old actually had a few that fried together in cooking, but that wasn’t the only one in the basket, so they were satisfied. Chicken Tenders are served with your your choice of dipping sauce. They also got an order of tater tots, which rounded out the meal nicely.
Cheesy’s is open for weekend brunch, trivia nights and has drink specials seven days/nights a week.
Mine isn’t the only rave review:
“It’s a no-brainer. Come here!” said a Google reviewer. “They’re open late to. Great sandwiches, soups and appetizers. I picked up The Melt this time around with Cheese Curds. Everything was made to order and delicious. The server was awesome and answered all our questions. I’ll have to come back for their trivia nights!”
Cheesie’s Pub & Grub-Lakeview is located at 958 W. Belmont Avenue, while their Wicker Park location is at 1365 N. Milwaukee Avenue. Their hours and menu vary by location. For hours, menus and other information, click here.
Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago