Since their expansion last summer, Eckert's Country Restaurant (951 South Green Mount Road, Belleville; 618-233-0513) has been split into two restaurants: Eckert's Family Style Restaurant, a family-style restaurant with country classics, and the Orchard Cafe and Grill, which serves more contemporary cuisine. The summer seasonal menu features a grilled cheese with pesto and vegetables, and it's the perfect hot-day lunch.
The sandwich starts with two slabs of fresh sourdough bread, butter and grilled with slices of mozzarella and provolone, thin strips of zucchini, red onion, tomato and a dollop of bright pesto.
While the cheese gives the sandwich a heartiness, the vegetables and pesto lighten the load with crisp earthiness. It's a great balance for days when it's too hot to eat, but you must. And since you must, it might as well be something tasty.