Where to Get Great Mac and Cheese from Coast to Coast
Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. Here's where to find craveworthy versions of the rich, cheesy delight all across America.
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A Mac and Cheese Quest
These 38 restaurants across the country are taking a comfort classic to the next level with cheese-plate-worthy cheese blends, chunks of lobster, spicy chorizo and more. These are macs you won't want to miss — one's even served atop a burger.
Las Vegas: Beauty & Essex
Kansas City, Missouri: Gram & Dun
Seattle: Beecher’s Handmade Cheese
Miami: Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
More About: Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
Clarkston, Michigan: Clarkston Union Bar & Kitchen
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: Crave Kitchen & Cocktails
Miami: Huahua’s Taqueria
Bismarck, North Dakota: Humpback Sally's
This downtown Bismarck place offers fresh craft cocktails and excellent small plates served in a rustic-chic space. It has something for everyone, including classic Prohibition-era mixed drinks and modern molecular mixology. One thing everyone who visits agrees on, however, is the infamous mac and cheese. It’s one of the only dishes that constantly remains on the rotating seasonal menu. The simple dish is the ideal blend of flavors and textures. It’s smooth and crunchy with smoky and creamy notes, as well as a touch of spice. Swirly, tubular pasta is tossed with a four-cheese blend of smoked Cheddar, white Cheddar, Parmesan and havarti, roasted jalapenos and bacon, and it's topped with a spice panko breadcrumb crust.
Los Angeles: Little Pine
Vero Beach, Florida: Cobalt Restaurant
Chicago: Public House
Philadelphia: Good Dog Bar
New Orleans: Cochon Butcher
Porky goodness is a hallmark of this famed NOLA establishment known for its out-of-this-world muffuletta and other tantalizing sandwiches, cured meats and cheeses. But there's also the spot's rich and creamy macaroni and cheese, enriched with sharp white cheddar, milk, cream, onion, garlic and hot sauce. It's all mixed together with elbow macaroni and topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano and herbed breadcrumbs.
Photo courtesy of Cochon Restaurant
More About: Cochon Butcher
Cincinnati: The Eagle
San Francisco: Homeroom
When a restaurant says it's dedicated to "the best food on earth: macaroni and cheese," it had better deliver the goods. At Oakland's schoolroom-themed Homeroom, there are more than 10 made-to-order varieties, ranging from a classic cheddar-rich version to the popular Mexican Mac. In that creamy, smoky dish, large ridged elbows are bathed in a sauce of housemade bechamel and Jack cheese, then spiked with Niman Ranch chorizo and chipotle peppers. But why stop there? Customize your mac and cheese with add-ins like caramelized onions or a fried egg. Can't eat gluten? Most varieties are available gluten-free.
Photo by Dan Jung
San Diego: Urban Solace
Scottsdale, Arizona: The Roaring Fork
St. Louis: Salt + Smoke
Atlanta: South City Kitchen
A humble dish of mac and cheese is a Southern staple, but for some, the timeless standard demands a touch of luxury. And what better way to amp things up than chunks of buttery lobster? At South City Kitchen, executive chef Chip Ulbrich offers up two versions of mac and cheese. There's a four-cheese variety — cream cheese being the wild-card ingredient here. Then, there's the lobster-enriched offering, in which flavorful lobster meat is folded into the pasta-and-cheese mixture. Dare to indulge in it along with the restaurant's signature buttermilk fried chicken.
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More About: South City Kitchen
Boston: Boston Burger Company
Can't live without your mac and cheese, but you're dying for a burger, too? The solution: Marry the burger to the mac and cheese in the form of Boston Burger's next-level flavor combo, the Mac Attack. In this eatery with three locations in the Boston area, a burger is topped with mac and cheese composed of elbow pasta; American, cheddar, Romano and Jack cheeses; more cheese sauce and bacon. A dash of hot sauce adds some punch to this cheesy, beefy mouthful.
Photo by Dave White
More About: Boston Burger Company
Minneapolis: Haute Dish
Chicago: Kuma's Corner
Heavy metal booms from the speakers at this popular Chicago pub, where the burgers draw raves. But there's also the spot's popular build-your-own mac and cheese, a rich blend of three cheeses and cream, topped with a Parmesan panko crust. Then pile on as many as you’d like of about 14 different ingredients, the first two of which are included in the $13 price for the dish. There's andouille, sun-dried tomatoes, jalapenos and garlic, to name a few. Chase this all down with one of the craft brews and spirits from a rotating selection.
Photo courtesy of Kuma's Corner
More About: Kuma's Corner
Wilton Manors, Florida: New York Grilled Cheese
Portland, Maine: Five Fifty-Five
Philadelphia: Valley Shepherd Creamery
Who says mac and cheese has to be made in a casserole? At the Valley Shepherd Creamery stand in Philadelphia's famed Reading Terminal, the cheese makers' over-the-top Valley Thunder grilled mac and cheese sandwich with housemade Bubbe's brisket always draws long lines. The brisket comes from Chef Rebecca Foxman's grandmother's recipe and the 12-month-aged cheddar from the creamery's New Jersey farmstead. There's no seating at this food stand, but tables and chairs are scattered throughout the market.
Photo courtesy of Valley Shepherd Creamery
Providence: Say Cheese
Dallas: Stonedeck Pizza Pub
Albuquerque, New Mexico: Freight House Kitchen + Tap
Long Beach, California: The Attic
Corning, New York: Mooney’s Sports Bar & Grill
Seattle: Bok a Bok
Marietta, Georgia: Sam’s BBQ-1
Miami: Meat Market
Los Angeles: Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery
There's often a crushing line at this Santa Monica Italian deli with locals lining up for its epic cold-cut sandwich, the Godmother. But fans of the deli's baked mac and cheese, consisting of elbow macaroni, eight different cheeses and a topping of crushed garlic croutons, say this decadent dish is also worth the wait. Be careful when ordering, though. Don't confuse "the real deal mac and cheese" with the deli's other, simpler side dish of pasta with cheese sauce. Pro tip: Skip the lines and order online for fast pickup at the counter.
Photo by Hector R. Padilla
More About: Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery
New York City: The Queens Kickshaw
This coffee shop-cum-bar in the trendy Queens neighborhood of Astoria has earned kudos for its killer grilled cheese. But equally swoonworthy is the spot's mac and cheese. This crispy-on-the-outside, gooey-on-the-inside version is composed of Setaro pasta and a three-cheese combo of cheddar, Gruyère and Maplebrook Farm smoked mozzarella. Studded with green beans, the dish is baked in a loaf pan, then cut into slices and finished with a tomato reduction. Pair it with Counter Culture coffee or one of the eatery's large selections of craft beers.
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Phoenix: The Duce
At The Duce, the mac and cheese muffins vie for attention with the restaurant's theme park atmosphere. Housed in the 1920 warehouse are a boxing ring, an old-time soda fountain and foosball, among other entertainments. The muffins — in which flour binds together elbow macaroni, Gruyère and cheddar into cheesy bites that are then baked in muffin tins — go well with a Pabst or a Bud from the bar's selection of old-time brews.
Photo courtesy of The Duce
More About: The Duce
Washington, D.C.: Cheesetique
At Cheesetique, a cheese shop and eatery with two locations in D.C.'s close-in Northern Virginia suburbs, "Cheese Lady" and owner Jill Erber believes that simple is better, aiming to let the taste of the cheese shine through in her macaroni and cheese preparation. The shop's creation deploys goat Gouda, Asiago and Cacio di Roma to create a complex flavor that is at once tangy, buttery and sweet. Pair this piping-hot dish with a bowl of tomato or French onion soup.
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