If you’re tired of your go-to sliced cheddar on white bread, turn your grilled cheese adventure up a notch at these eateries that have re-invented the classic American favorite. From grilled cheese served up from a truck to sandwiches accompanied by a spicy marinara dipping sauce, you don’t have to go far to find some of the tastiest grilled cheese sandwiches on the planet. Read on to discover five of our favorite spots that guarantee big time smiles from your kids.

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Bayou Bakery
Bayou Bakery’s owner David Guas knows a thing or two about Cajun-inspired flavor and some say a taste of his cooking is akin to having a jazz band play in your mouth. So imagine what he can do with a grilled cheese. Be sure to grab his famous sandwich that boasts warm, rich pimento cheese oozing from thick slices of buttery Texas-style toast.

1515 North Courthouse Road
Arlington, Va
Online: bayoubakeryva.com

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The Big Cheese Food Truck
If you’re walking around downtown and want to grab a quick bite between museum visits, forget the hot dog stands on every corner and beeline it to the Big Cheese Food Truck, which features a number of decadently delicious grilled cheese varieties that will have you saying things like, “I never thought I’d pay $9 for a grilled cheese sandwich, but that was worth it!” Try the Mt. Fuji with Camembert, fuji apple and honey on multigrain, or the Midnight Moon with goat gouda and caramelized onions. There’s also the Cherry Blossom with chevre and cherry preserves on multigrain. Rumor has it that any choice you make here is a good one.

Online: bigcheesetruck.com
Twitter: twitter.com/bigcheesetruck

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Room11
Some places only need to offer one kind of grilled cheese to earn a reputation for having the best and DC’s Room 11 is that place. Their signature grilled cheese sandwich is said to channel all the comforts of childhood in one bite. It features a gooey mix of oak cheddar, mozzarella, and local caciocavallo, and it comes with a side of spicy marinara for dipping. One bite and you’ll soon understand why DC locals swear by it.

3234 11th St. NW
Washington, DC
Online: room11dc.com

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Grilled Cheese DC
Get ready to become parent of the year because all the dishes at Grilled Cheese DC begin with one of every kid’s staple food preferences: grilled cheese, mac ‘n’ cheese, or tator tots! Choose from several pre-designed options such as the Young American with American cheese, tomato and bacon on sourdough, or the District Cemita with pepper jack, chorizo, avocado, and salsa on white bread. Many say the best by far is the French Onion with Gruyere and caramelized onions on challah bread. Got a picky eater who isn’t into their menu? Build your own grilled cheese sandwich from a long list of bread, cheese, meat and veggie options.

1730 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC
Online: grilledcheesedc.com

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photo: Jennifer L. via Yelp

Cheesetique
With a name like Cheesetique, there’s not much guesswork to what you’ll find on the menu. In addition to a decadent cheese bar, this place has it’s own “grilled cheese menu,” you can choose from a multitude of heavenly versions, including simple ones like cheddar on sourdough or more complicated indulgences, such as glazed Greek figs and fresh arugula, with fontina and Amish blue cheese. Wow. There also an Italian mix of fresh Mozzarella, tomatoes, and fresh basil on grilled ciabatta; and another with Brie, apples and prosciutto. We recommend having everyone in your group order something different and then share so you get to try as many of these cheesy grilled concoctions as possible.

4056 Campbell Ave.
Arlington, Va
Online: cheesetique.com

What is your favorite destination for grilled cheese? Share the love in the Comments below!

— Jamy Bond

all photos courtesy of the business unless otherwise noted