8 restaurants battle to win the Great Grilled Cheese Off Oct. 19

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Relish in the nostalgia of your youth as eight local restaurants deliver their takes on a childhood staple at the second annual Great Grilled Cheese Off from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Dennis & Judith Jones Visitor and Education Center in Forest Park.

Cast your vote for your favorite after sampling gooey, cheesy deliciousness from the contenders: Molly’s in Soulard, Card’s Nation, Pasta Fare, Yapi Mediterranean Subs and Sandwiches, Valenti’s Delicatessen and Marketplace, Dog House, Charlie’s Sprouts and returning champ The Wolf Café.

Tickets include one sandwich sample from each of the competitors, along with a cup of Pickleman’s Deli tomato bisque soup, one Schlafly beer or nonalcoholic beverage of choice, live music and family-friendly activities like a petting zoo, face painting and crafts.

Grilled cheese is not the only thing being served, however. Michael Powers of the 50 Roses Foundation, the organization in charge of the competition, said the event serves to raise awareness for local nonprofit partners doing work for those with disabilities, like the Center for Hearing & Speech, Artists First St. Louis, Paraquad, Best Buddies Missouri and others.

“Whether it’s an arts organization, such as Artists First St. Louis, working with individuals on self-expression, or if it’s an organization like ALS or Illinois Autism Association that works with a specific mental or physical disability and supporting those individuals, we give them space at the festival,” Powers said. 

“Many of them will be doing simulations so that attendees can know what it’s like to be visually impaired or have a hearing impairment or have mobility issues. But they’ll try to make some of them fun activities just to learn about the mission of that organization and how they can get involved.”

The event, while raising awareness of organizations having a positive impact and local restaurants, will also be inclusive for individuals with all abilities. Powers indicated that the 50 Roses Foundation took even the location of the event between the visitor center and Missouri History Museum in mind.

“But it’s actually a great spot for us because it’s next to one of the only universally designed playgrounds in the region, so kids of all abilities can come out and play that day,” Powers said.

Tickets are available online.

Brenna Sullivan is an editorial intern at Sauce Magazine.

Sauce Magazine is a sponsor of The Great Grilled Cheese Off.