Nothing transports you back to the nostalgic days of lunchboxes and after-school cartoons quite like a grilled cheese sandwich.

Times were simpler when the biggest thing you stressed about was your algebra quiz or that “To Kill a Mockingbird” report. And nothing made those stressors more palatable than a toasty, buttery grilled cheese sandwich.

I personally am terrible at making grilled cheese sandwiches. I always either burn the bread because of inattention or overheating or don’t completely melt the cheese for the exact opposite reasons. And I know, a grilled cheese sandwich is extremely simple to make. But for some reason, my cooking abilities skipped over toasting bread with cheese.

But I love what emotions and impressions a grilled cheese sandwich evokes, which is why I could not pass up the chance to sit down at Cravings Bistro in Pleasant Grove.

Cravings Bistro is fairly well-known and I’d been meaning to try this staple restaurant of Pleasant Grove. After a well-portioned and extremely filling meal there with my wife, I’m regretting procrastinating this cheesy experience at all.

Cravings Bistro evokes those same comfortable, cozy feelings catalyzed by my nostalgia trips whenever I have a grilled cheese. All the tables, seating and interior arrangements feel like a trip to your mom’s kitchen, impressing upon diners to sit and stay a while with a sandwich and bowl of soup.

But Cravings Bistro doesn’t just stop at a few slices of cheese in between each sandwich. Cravings Bistro makes what I can only classify as adult grilled cheese sandwiches. Provolone, cheddar, Swiss and multiple other varieties of cheeses are paired with turkey, bacon, pulled pork, spinach and a wide selection of other fillings. Needless to say, these aren’t your mama’s grilled cheeses.

I was intrigued by a couple of classics that I’d read rave reviews about, specifically the TBA and the ABC. I ordered a half sandwich of each, while my wife ordered the Gooey 6 Cheese and Grilled Mac and Cheese. We both opted for a cup of tomato soup on the side and Loaded Cheese Fries to start.

The Loaded Cheese Fries are drowned in cheddar and mozzarella cheeses and topped with candied bacon, sour cream and chives, served with a side of ranch. I feel like it should go without saying that every item at Cravings Bistro was overflowing with cheese. There are some establishments that serve cheese fries with a small sprinkle of cheddar cheese. But not so at Cravings Bistro. Every bite is draped in gooey, melty cheese, with a crisp of candied bacon to really make your taste buds dance. This was a great way to start, and left us with exceedingly high expectations.

Fortunately for us, those expectations were met. The ABC half sandwich I ordered stands for apple, bacon and cheddar, with a spread of red onion mayo on either side. Yes, I said apple. Bright green Granny Smith apple slices were distributed throughout the sandwich, which I would have never thought would be so appetizing. That extra crisp and sweetness made a phenomenal pairing with the savory candied bacon — candying the bacon has to be divine inspiration — and gooey sharp cheddar. I cannot recommend this sandwich enough.

I feel like every deli or bistro across America has some sort of take on a turkey, bacon and avocado sandwich. Cravings Bistro is no exception. While the Swiss cheese was a little less stringy and gooey than the ABC, the flavors melded together a little more neatly than most TBA sandwiches. The red onion mayo gave the sandwich a fantastic tang, that I spent most of the night raving to my wife about. A simple topping that was truly the icing on top.

My wife’s Gooey 6 Cheese half sandwich truly lived up to its name in a wonderful way. A veritable waterfall of cheddar, mozzarella, provolone, Swiss, pepper jack, and Muenster cheeses gushed from the Parmesan-crusted sandwich with every bite. Needless to say, lactose-intolerant readers should probably avoid this at all costs.

To truly drive the desire to be a little more child-like home, my wife opted for her second half to be a Grilled Mac and Cheese. Mac and cheese, more cheddar cheese, pot roast and BBQ sauce are stuffed in between two slices of bread. The texture was unique, with tender bits of beef accompanying each mouthful of mac and cheese. My wife preferred the overload of cheese in her previous half sandwich.

If you’ve heard anything about Cravings Bistro, you know its tomato soup is rumored to be legendary. Allow me to add my voice to those of others in agreement — this soup is liquid gold. Each serving of Tomato Basil Soup is topped with sour cream for extra creaminess and mini grilled cheese croutons. There are miniature grilled cheeses already in your tomato soup. I could hardly contain my joy at finding grilled cheese already in my tomato soup. It was true comfort food heaven.

Prices are remarkably favorable, with most sandwiches between $5.50 and $6.75 for a full sandwich, ensuring date night doesn’t bust your wallet while it fills your gut.

Nothing at Cravings Bistro is half-done. From the first bite of loaded cheese fry to the last slurp of tomato soup, it was a constant feast of flavor.

City Editor

Kurt is the city editor and oversees the Daily Herald's news content.

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