The single best grilled cheese sandwich in the world is right here in Edwardsville, and comes from an institution with a long history tied to SIUE.
The Stagger Inn sits at the entrance to Main Street, and dates back to 1974 when SIUE was new and the town was flooded with flower children. Stagger Inn was their chosen hangout, and has been the home base for generations of students.
Like most taverns, Stagger Inn carries a full line of fried everything from mozzarella to pickles, and a wide variety of sandwiches including a ribeye; traditional Reuben or muffaletta; “The Snyder” which includes ham, roast beef and brick cheese; and the famous triple-decker grilled cheese.
This gooey concoction piles cheddar, Swiss and brick cheese on three thick sourdough slices, melted together for the perfect cheesy mix. I opted to add bacon, even though it increases the calorie and fat content, but you don’t go to Stagger Inn for healthy food.
Stagger Inn maintains a college-student-friendly price level – the sandwich itself is only $5.75 plus $1.50 for the optional bacon. The sides are extra – I opted for the fries at $2.25, which are hand-cut from actual potatoes, complete with skins, and absolutely delicious. Be warned, though, everything costs extra: a side of ranch dressing costs 60c. (Don’t judge my dipping choices.) You could even choose to get a single-layer grilled cheese on wheat for only $4, but why would you?
When you visit Stagger Inn, be sure to check out the restored backbar, hand-made oak and walnut saloon doors, and listen to the local bands or open mic nights for entertainment in the evenings. If the music isn’t to your liking, check it out for lunch, and enjoy possibly the last place you can still get a burger or a sandwich for less than $6 in 2023.
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