1 Big Jones

Paul Fehribach layers textures and flavors in his superlative version. The thick, sharp spread (made with Hook’s cheddar, Duke’s mayo, house Worcestershire sauce, and roasted pimientos) comes topped with crisp, vinegary chow-chow and is served alongside crunchy benne seed crackers. $8. 5347 N. Clark St., Andersonville

2 Virtue

Erick Williams’s tangy, herby secret-recipe pimiento cheese would be delicious on its own, but spreading it onto the accompanying warm, honey-drizzled biscuits takes it to another level. $6. 1462 E. 53rd St., Hyde Park

3 Tempesta Market

The key to the Italian deli’s amped-up take: a mix of roasted red peppers for sweetness and Calabrian chiles for spicy notes, which cut right through the rich spread. $9.99. 1372 W. Grand Ave., West Town

4 Barnaby’s of Northbrook

For decades, Barnaby’s set out vats of its no-frills snack for patrons to nosh on while waiting for pizza. Mild and almost liquid, the oddly satisfying cheese is now sold to go with Ritz. $5. 960 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook