Worth a Try: Pimiento Cheese

Pimiento cheese from Pimento's Cafe and Market in Memphis, Tennessee

Satisfy your craving for pimiento cheese, the pâte of the South, with these delicious options.

Pretty Perfect Cheese, Loxley, Alabama, and grocery stores across the US

Maggie Heyworth started Pretty Perfect Cheese after several years of research and development due to an unfortunate encounter with subpar pimiento cheese. She felt that “life is too short for bad pimiento cheese.” Shredded white Cheddar that has been aged for at least one year is her key ingredient in flavors including Aged Cheddar with Jalapeño and Pimiento, Aged Cheddar with Sundried Tomato and Lemon Zest, and Aged Cheddar with Pancetta & Horseradish.

Villani’s Bakery, Concord, North Carolina

Pimiento Cheese Croissants from Villani's Bakery in Concord, North Carolina

Paul and Amanda Villani opened Villani’s Bakery with a clear mission to serve outstanding baked goods. Each day, the team makes cupcakes, pastries, cookies, cheesecake, bread, and much more from scratch with quality ingredients. It’s also home to the original Pimento Cheese Croissant. This culinary creation is a marriage of the conventional French pastry and a Southern favorite. Handmade laminated dough and pimiento cheese that is incorporated during the rolling process results in a cheesy, buttery, and flaky treat. 11 Union St. Suite 103.

Frank, Austin, Texas

Frank is an Austin, Texas, eatery with an affinity for great food, strong coffee, cold drinks, and funky ambience. In addition to its widely loved artisan sausage, Frank has a healthy following for its Biscuit and Gravy Burger with pimiento cheese. The massive dish includes a split Cheddar biscuit piled with a beef and pork sausage patty, country gravy, fried green tomato, and pimiento cheese. This big burger is also served with powdered sugar waffle fries and a side of Cholula syrup. 407 Colorado St.

High Hat Café, New Orleans, Louisiana

pimiento cheese-topped foods from High Hat Cafe in New Orleans, Louisiana

In 2011, Chip Apperson and Adolfo Garcia opened High Hat Café in New Orleans. The two initially met while attending culinary school in New York City. They opened the café with a vision to fuse Memphis Delta-style food with New Orleans Cajun fare. Everything is handcrafted from scratch, sourced locally, and made in season. The bustling café has a pimiento cheese appetizer that’s served with deviled ham, deviled eggs, and mixed pickles. Other favorites include the High Hat Burger with Pimento Cheese, Pimento Cheese Grits, Pimento Cheese Fries, and Pimento Mac & Cheese. 4500 Freret Street.

Back in the Day Bakery, Savannah, Georgia

Back in the Day Bakery is owned and operated by Cheryl and Griff Day, who are good friends of Paula Deen. “Slow Down and Taste the Sweet Life” is the bakery’s motto, and it’s apparent that a lot of care is put into everything they make. The shop creates all its items from scratch and offers a made-to-order lunch menu. One of their most popular items is the Pimento and the Pig sandwich, made with their pimiento cheese, applewood smoked bacon, and ciabatta bread. 2403 Bull Street.

Palmetto Cheese, Pawleys Island, South Carolina, and grocery stores across the US

Sassy and Brian Henry founded Palmetto Cheese in 2006. The company’s slogan boldly deems it “the pimento cheese with soul!” Palmetto’s Cheese has been known to dress up a variety of foods—veggies, burgers, biscuits, sandwiches, hot dogs, and much more. Although the secret recipe will never be revealed, the quality Southern-style pimiento cheese brand is largely successful because of its homemade taste, versatility, and convenient packaging. Palmetto’s pimiento cheese is available in Original, Jalapeño, and Bacon flavors.

Gilchrist, Mountain Brook, Alabama

Pimiento Cheese sandwich from Gilchrist in Mountain Brook, Alabama

Gilchrist opened in 1928 as a drug store and soda fountain. Although the pharmacy closed more than 30 years ago, people often still affectionately refer to it as Gilchrist Pharmacy. The down-home diner is a local spot with comforting sandwich choices including egg salad, chicken salad, hot dogs, and turkey club. One of the most popular sandwiches served is the BLT with pimiento cheese. The dish is a yummy combination of thick-cut bacon, house-made pimiento cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and a side of crackers. Many customers love to wash it down with a fresh-squeezed limeade. 2805 Cahaba Rd.

Public House, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Five years ago, Public House’s first general manager decided to start serving pimiento cheese as homage to his mentor, Frank Stitt of the legendary Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham, Alabama. Public House’s version is based on the pimiento cheese recipe found in the cookbook Frank Stitt’s Southern Table, but a single variation has been incorporated into the original recipe. The beloved Southern staple is served on an appetizer plate with fried dill pickles and grilled sourdough, as well as a topping for a bacon burger. 1110 Market Street.

Pimento’s Café & Market, multiple locations in Memphis, Tennessee

Pimiento cheese from Pimento's Cafe and Market in Memphis, Tennessee

The Jordan family has operated Pimento’s Café & Market in the Memphis area since 1993. The café has a loyal following thanks to its warm service and appetizing food. Customers are particularly fond of Papa’s Pimento Cheese. The pimiento cheese is served on numerous dishes including the Southern Special, an English muffin layered with pimiento cheese, ham, tomato, and a fried egg, and the Grown-Up Grilled Cheese, made with Papa’s jalapeño pimiento cheese, Gouda, Swiss, oven-roasted tomatoes, and hickory-smoked bacon on grilled wheat bread.

Magnolia’s, Charleston, South Carolina

Magnolia’s opened its doors in 1990 and is a part of a new generation of Lowcountry cooking in Charleston. For more than 25 years, this fine-dining restaurant has fused Southern fare, culinary trends, and stylish plate presentations. Pimiento cheese enthusiasts can enjoy their Grilled Filet of Beef topped with melted pimiento cheese and served with an herb potato cake, grilled plum tomatoes, asparagus, and Madeira demi-glace. 185 East Bay Street.

Photos courtesy of Pimento’s Café, Villani’s Bakery, and High Hat Café

This content was originally published in the March/April 2016 issue of Cooking with Paula Deen magazine. ©2016 Hoffman Media