One of the simplest, yet most satisfying sandwiches is the humble grilled cheese. Once thought of as merely a staple for young children, the grilled cheese has transcended such distinctions to become an enduring classic. The intermingling of subtly crisp bread and warm melted cheese has nearly universal appeal. The grilled cheese is celebrated whole-heartedly at Cheddar and Rye, Manchester’s only grilled cheese restaurant.
Located on Elm Street in the heart of downtown Manchester, Cheddar and Rye specializes in a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches served in a comfortable, comic book-themed space.
Co-owner Andrew Thistle opened Cheddar and Rye in March with the vision of providing Manchester residents with a casual local eatery specializing in unique grilled sandwiches
“Grilled cheese is a dish that everyone is in love with. We have options for everyone and every diet,” said Thistle.
The atmosphere embraces a DC and Marvel comic book theme, which coincides with the grilled-cheese-centric menu. Posters and artwork adorn the walls and the window seats feature a comic strip-lined countertop. Additionally, all the sandwiches on the menu are named after superheroes and villains.
The idea of the superhero theme came about on a whim. “It was one of those things that kind of just happened…it ended up making sense,” said Thistle.
According to Thistle, the most popular sandwich on the menu is the Lex Luthor, which is named after Superman’s archenemy. The sandwich is layered with house-braised pork, cheddar, crispy onions and barbecue sauce.
Other options include the Venom, which pairs American cheese with homemade sloppy joe and the Black Panther, which packs a punch with pastrami, Danish blue cheese, caramelized onions and barbecue sauce.
Those who wish to create their own masterpiece have a myriad of options to choose from, including six breads, ten cheeses and over 25 meats, vegetables and sauces. Unsurprisingly, homemade tomato soup is also available for those who enjoy dunking their grilled cheese.
While the “cheddar” in Cheddar and Rye refers to grilled cheese sandwiches, “rye” refers to whiskey.
“The other half of the business is the whiskey bar next door, which should be open mid-summer…we’re huge fans of whiskey and we wanted to show people what’s out there,” said Thistle.
The whiskey bar will operate separately from the grilled cheese shop, but they will share the same kitchen. The menu and atmosphere will be more upscale, but still approachable.
Cheddar and Rye is a one-of-a-kind eatery offering a bit of respite from everyday life in the form of hot sandwiches and childhood nostalgia.