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

Celebrity chef Chris Santos’ Vegas outpost of Beauty & Essex, housed inside the chic Cosmopolitan Hotel, is just as posh and energetic as the Lower East Side original. Just like at the first establishment, guests at the Vegas location pass through a door in the back of a faux pawn shop to enter the jewel-toned space complete with secluded, tufted banquets and shimmering and beaded crystal chandeliers. Grab a leather seat to enjoy prime views of the attractive crowds, creative cocktails and sophisticated New American fare, including Santos’ famous Short Rib ‘Mac & Cheese.’ Served in a skillet, a heaping pile of rigatoni is slathered in a short rib- and jalapeno-infused bechamel with Gruyère, aged Gouda and havarti, then topped with a pickled jalapeno, herb and cornbread crust.

Boston: Yankee Lobster Company

A shrine to one of Boston's favorite foods, Yankee Lobster Company serves plenty of buttery lobster. Perhaps it's best enjoyed in a rich, creamy macaroni and cheese, studded with lobster plucked from ocean-fed aquariums on site. It's so good, Guy stopped by to try it on Triple D.

Go to: Yankee Lobster Company

Kansas City, Missouri: Gram & Dun

Kansas City doesn’t discriminate when it comes to barbecue. The folks here smoke everything: pork, beef, chicken, turkey, mutton and more. But burnt ends, the flavorful pieces of meat cut from the ends of a wood-kissed beef brisket, are by far the most-popular pick of slowly cooked protein. Gram & Dun incorporates the smoky, meaty delicacy into its mac and cheese. Pasta noodles are coated in a shallot- and white wine-scented garlic cream sauce, more heavy cream, nutty fontina, salty pecorino and burnt ends glazed with housemade Kansas City-style barbecue sauce. Sour pickles are tossed in and the whole thing is dusted with a chicharron crumble.

Seattle: Beecher’s Handmade Cheese

One of the most-integral components to solid mac and cheese is, well, cheese. So it should come as no surprise that a cheese maker would know a thing about making a good aged dairy-centric dish. Although it may be hard to prove Beecher’s self-proclaimed "World’s Best Mac and Cheese" is, in fact, the top pick on the planet, it is one of the most-beloved versions in the United States. Beecher’s award-winning Flagship cheese, a robust and nutty semihard cow’s milk, is the main ingredient, portioned 2-to-1 with the brand’s Just Jack cheese. That cheesy blend is added to a roux, scented with garlic and chipotle chile, then mixed with penne pasta. It’s creamy, cheesy and 100 percent satisfying — if you like that kind of thing. Try it at the original Pike Place Market stall, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, in Bellevue, Washington, and in New York City.

Miami: Yardbird Southern Table & Bar

At this Southern-themed Miami Beach spot, guests are so devoted to its mac and cheese that some order two in one sitting. The components of this extravagant creation are torchio pasta and five different cheeses — white cheddar, yellow cheddar, Swiss, Gruyère and Parmesan. The dish is then topped with herb-crusted breadcrumbs. As if that weren't enough gooey goodness, it's all then smothered in mornay sauce. Chase down all this creaminess with one of the eatery’s more than 60 bourbon offerings.

More About: Yardbird Southern Table & Bar

Clarkston, Michigan: Clarkston Union Bar & Kitchen

This old church-turned-restaurant honors its past, complete with plenty of oak, stained glass and booths made of former pews. It’s a Detroit-area favorite for its reverent atmosphere and divine comfort food. Kid Rock brought Guy Fieri here during their tour of Detroit for Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. During their visit they sampled — you guessed it — the mac and cheese, calling it the "most-macked mac and cheese." This creamy creation begins with a classic bechamel, scented with onion, garlic, nutmeg, pepper and Parmesan. The velvety sauce is combined with cooked penne rigate and placed in a casserole dish, then layered with Pinconning cheese (an aged Colby-style cheese that hails from Pinconning, Michigan), another layer of bechamel-coated pasta, a layer of sharp Cheddar and, finally, panko breadcrumbs. The whole thing is baked until bubbly and golden.

Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: Crave Kitchen & Cocktails

Possibly the most-famous restaurant mac and cheese in the U.S., Crave Executive Chef Landen Ganstrom’s rendition has been hailed as the "Most Life-Changing Mac ‘n’ Cheese in America" by Esquire magazine. It took home a whopping 85 percent of the vote in a national poll. Why? Really good cheese. This dish starts with a 10-year, cave-aged sharp California Cheddar cheese that's mixed with Parmesan, mozzarella and a "secret ingredient" recommended by Ganstrom’s daughters — that classified additive is still a mystery to even the rest of the Crave culinary team. The cheesy, confidential blend is slow-cooked with cavatappi pasta, creating a nice thick and viscous consistency. Guests can choose to make it a meal with optional toppings like pulled pork (pictured above), applewood smoked bacon, broccoli, sea scallops and more.

Miami: Huahua’s Taqueria

Hailing from Scottsdale, Arizona, by way of The Culinary Institute of America, Todd Erickson has brought a unique Southwestern sensibility to South Florida. At his casual Miami Beach taqueria, the executive chef serves a range of inventive Mexican and Southwestern fare, including an impressive mac and queso. It starts with the restaurant’s queso dip (an infamous late-night favorite): a savory blend of sauteed onions, garlic, roasted green chiles, coriander, cumin, oregano, Monterey Jack, Cotija and white melting cheese. That spice-filled cheese blend is tossed with cavatappi pasta, then topped with grated cortina, chopped cilantro and crushed tajin tortilla chips, basically Erickson’s housemade version of Doritos. Pair it with a taco and margarita, then go to bed content.

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

No wheat, no dairy, no problem. Moby’s LA organic-vegan spot serves a decadent gluten- and animal product-free twist on one of America’s favorite comfort food classics. To get that gooey texture and integral cheesy flavor, the team makes a cashew-based bechamel with lots of garlic, cashew cheese, a touch of turmeric and a bit of nutritional yeast. The latter is a favorite cheese substitute in vegan circles due to its strong, savory and umami flavor profile. The rich sauce is tossed with corn- and quinoa-based elbow noodles, and the dish is finished with gluten-free breadcrumbs and chives. Everyone is entitled to a little decadence — including those who don’t eat cheese.

Vero Beach, Florida: Cobalt Restaurant

With a prime waterfront position, Cobalt could hardly have a more fitting name; every single table has a view of the Atlantic. In keeping with the oceanic atmosphere, the menu offers a wide array of ingredients, including plenty of seafood from the Treasure Coast. A prime example is the crustacean-topped lobster mac and cheese. Chunks of tender lobster meat are tossed with cavatappi pasta in a blend of Gruyère, Cheddar and Gouda cheeses. Once the mix is assembled, the gooey and rich combination is finished with freshly grated Parmesan.

Chicago: Public House

When it comes to mac and cheese, this gigantic River North gastropub is all about options. An entire section of its extensive menu is dedicated to Multiple Choice Mac N’ Cheese. The bounty begins with cavatappi noodles, smothered in a gooey sharp Cheddar and white American cheese sauce that’s sprinkled with another layer of white Cheddar on top. The base is more than satisfying on its own, but this place elevates its already impressive mac with 12 different mix-ins and toppings: house-smoked bacon, smoked pulled chicken, smoked pulled pork, chorizo, burnt end brisket, short rib chili, caramelized onion, chicken sausage, wild mushroom, roasted jalapeno, truffle oil and buffalo. For $20, guests can go crazy and order all of the above.

Philadelphia: Good Dog Bar

This three-floor, 100-year-old Rittenhouse Square pub is beloved by locals for many reasons: great music, a friendly staff, an extensive beer selection and creative American fare that's just plain good. Oh, and did we mention Good Dog Bar works with animal rescues? There’s a lot to like here, however, the baked macaroni and cheese is still at the top of the list. Elbow pasta is mixed with a blend of nutty Gruyère, aged Gouda, aged Cheddar and bechamel sauce in an oven-ready bowl, topped with corn flakes and baked to order. Because it’s not carb-loaded enough on its own, this mac and cheese is served with a hunk of blueberry cornbread on the side. He may not have tried the mac and cheese on his visit, but Guy Fieri said Executive Chef Jessica O’Donnell’s creative food’s on point.

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

Located right in the midst of downtown Cincinnati’s hip, up-and-coming food hood, Over-The-Rhine, this American eatery and beer hall is one of the hottest restaurants in Cincy. Locals fawn over the excellent free-range, Amish-raised fried chicken and spectacular sides sold at budget-friendly price points. That includes a $5 mac and cheese that’s worth a journey. Spiral-cut noodles are coated in a tangy blend of five cheeses, including bleu cheese, with a generous spread of crunchy garlic breadcrumbs on the top. Made in-house daily, it’s incredibly rich in flavor and light on the wallet. The Eagle is part of a four-store mini chain, which means this mac and cheese can also be found in Indianapolis, Columbus and Louisville.

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

Chef Matt Gordon is hailed for fun takes on American classics at his North Park restaurant. A perfect example: Gordon’s Skillet of Duckaroni. In a play on boxed Pasta Roni, the chef mixes noodles with a cheesy mornay sauce scented with elevated ingredients like roasted garlic, blue cheese, scallions, arugula and fresh herbs. It’s creamy, tangy and cheesy with some fresh greens to lighten up the heavy ingredients. The real kicker, though, is the addition of succulent house-cured duck confit. Those bold ingredients are combined in a skillet, topped with bacon breadcrumbs (made from Urban Solace’s house Cheddar-chive biscuits), then baked to bubbly and rich perfection.

Scottsdale, Arizona: The Roaring Fork

Honoring the culinary traditions of the Old West, this wood-fired restaurant with three locations (one in Scottsdale and two in Austin) puts a local spin on comfort food classics. Proteins are impeccably prepared in the rotisserie, over the open-flame grill or in the wood oven, creating dishes that taste like diners are at a really good cookout. The sides augment the feeling, with dishes like green chile-spiced mac and cheese. It starts with a saute of diced poblano, red bell pepper, red onion and garlic, which is then combined with elbow macaroni, more poblanos, heavy cream and grated pepper Jack cheese.

St. Louis: Salt + Smoke

Few food items pair better with bourbon and barbecue than macaroni and cheese. Rounding out its selection of more than 250 whiskies and beers and oak-smoked, sustainable meats, this upscale St. Louis barbecue restaurant offers an equally ritzy — just wait — White Cheddar Cracker Mac. A traditional roux is loaded with white Cheddar and milk to produce a thick and rich cheese sauce. Pasta shells are tossed in the mix and baked in a pan with crushed Ritz crackers (get it now?) layered on top. Those classic, traditionally lowbrow crackers offer an extra buttery, salty crunch that's ideal for soaking up adult beverages while you're reminiscing about fond memories of childhood snacks.

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.

Photo courtesy of Fifth Group Restaurants

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

Bigger is most certainly better in the case of this unique mac and cheese. Instead of the typical elbow macaroni, significantly larger tubular paccheri noodles stand in. Each cylinder is about 1 1/2 inches long with about a half-inch diameter. Every piece is evenly painted with a thick coat of Taleggio fondue, a creamy sauce highlighting the mild and fruity tang of the washed rind Italian cheese. The cheesy pasta mix is piled onto a dish. The mound is then topped with Alaskan king crab and spicy breadcrumbs seasoned with celery seed, chili flakes and flecks of Maldon sea salt. It’s finished with a crown of chives, parsley and celery leaves gently tossed with fish roe, lemon juice and a touch of extra-virgin olive oil.

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

Open until the wee hours of the morning on the weekend, this sandwich shop has become a South Florida late-night favorite. Hordes of revelers fill the dining room, cheese often dripping from their mouths. While the namesake item is, obviously, the focus here, one menu item reigns supreme in the dairy and carb department, the Manhattan Grilled Mac + Cheese. A cheesy cavatappi pasta mac and cheese is smothered in a thick layer of American cheese and sandwiched by slices of buttery country loaf bread. The hand-held dish is then pressed on a waffle press, creating a wonderfully crisp exterior with plenty of crisp brown edges that hold all the cheesy goodness together.

Portland, Maine: Five Fifty-Five

It’s nearly impossible to visit Maine without eating lobster — unless, of course, one has a severe seafood allergy. This Portland fine-dining stalwart ups the ante on both lobster and mac and cheese with its truffled lobster mac and cheese. This thing is luxurious on all fronts. Five artisanal cheeses are blended together in a velvety sauce and tossed with twisted torchio pasta. Just before the dish is served, lobster knuckle and claw meat are poached in butter, then placed atop the bed of pasta. It gets an earthy upgrade with a drizzle of white truffle oil, rounds of real shaved black truffle, potato gaufrettes (i.e., fancy waffle chips) and verdant chives.

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

Tampa: Datz

Executive Chef Keith Williamson is a big fan of fiery mac and cheese. His menu at Datz is filled with dairy-coated pasta options: the somewhat straightforward jalapeno-bacon mac and cheese, spicy fried mac and cheese bites, and more. That cheesy chile-pork combination, however, is also used as a substitute for another carb; Williamson makes bacon-jalapeno mac and cheese "buns." For his Cheesy Todd, Williamson coats circular pasta patties in panko and fries them until browned. The bottom "bun" is placed on a plate, layered with a grilled hamburger patty, thinly sliced pickles, tomato, onion and lettuce, then topped with the crisp round and secured with a skewer. If ever there were a knife and fork burger, this would be it.

Providence: Say Cheese

Rhode Island cheese lovers are a lucky bunch. This Providence storefront specializes in "Mac, Melts, More." While most chains offer healthy rice or salad in their bowls, Say Cheese lets guests choose toppings for a mac and cheese base. Twisted tubes of al dente pasta are slathered in the shop’s signature cheese sauce, made with grated smoked Gouda, Cheddar and heavy cream. Say Cheese classics include The Jersey (Taylor ham pork roll, banana peppers, olives, onions and Cheddar) and Wildcat (pulled barbecue pork, Fox Point pickles and Cheddar). Those who like spice — and wings! — should go for the Buffalo Chicken mac bowl, featuring grilled and sauteed chicken tossed in Buffalo sauce, placed on top of the mac, sprinkled with blue cheese crumbles and drizzled with extra sauce.

Dallas: Stonedeck Pizza Pub

Once upon a time, pizza was purely Italian with few toppings outside the usual repertoire of pepperoni, meatballs, eggplant and onion. Nowadays, crusts are slathered with all kinds of melting pot ingredients. This Dallas pizzeria specializes in American-style scratch-made pies covered with creative flavors like bratwurst, tomatillo sauce and house-braised chicken tikka masala. Mac and cheese lovers adore the Chili Mac, consisting of housemade Texas red chili and four-cheese mac and cheese baked on Stonedeck’s signature thin crust. The pie is finished with another layer of cheesy satisfaction, Dave’s Pub Queso, and red bell pepper.

Albuquerque, New Mexico: Freight House Kitchen + Tap

These days it’s common to see mac and cheese in many forms: on a burger, in a sandwich, topped with barbecue. So it’s rather exciting to see a version that’s a true, unique surprise. Cue: Freight House’s Mac ‘n Cheese Relleno. That’s right: macaroni and cheese inside a chile relleno. Petite ditalini pasta tubes are blended in a creamy mix of Gruyère and white Cheddar with chopped green chile. It’s all stuffed inside a poblano pepper, which is battered and fried. The carb- and cheese-filled pepper is plated above a drizzle of vinegar- and hot sauce-infused sweet-and-spicy sauce, and served with a healthy side of roasted squash, corn and beans.

Long Beach, California: The Attic

This East Broadway spot is known for its envelope-pushing riffs on classic Southern fare. Its playful flavor combinations and visually stunning presentation have made it an Instagram darling with nearly 10,000 followers. The most-liked dish: Mac n' Cheetos. Tubular pasta is coated in a traditional Cheddar, mozzarella and Jack cheese sauce, then finished with an unconventional topping: crumbled Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and green onions. This dish is so popular that The Attic has dedicated a section of its menu to six different mac and cheese options, including the Reggae, the original cheesy dish, and the mouth-searing Jalo Bac, made with sliced jalapenos as well as chopped, candied cayenne bacon. It’s like a high school dream imagined in real life.

Corning, New York: Mooney’s Sports Bar & Grill

Mooney’s, an eight-location chain across upstate New York, is the self-described "Home of the Mac and Cheese." Dairy and carbs are serious business here. The selection is astounding with well more than a dozen variations on the classic. There’s taco macaroni and cheese, lobster, Philly cheesesteak, Buffalo chicken, stuffed banana peppers, BLT and many more. The most momentous of all the selections is the Rodeo Mac. Weighing in at over a pound, this massive plate features Mooney’s original Cheddar cheese macaroni with ground beef and pulled pork, and it's finished with fried onion petals and barbecue sauce. Word to the wise: Prepare for a nap afterward.

Seattle: Bok a Bok

Comfort food gets a Korean twist at this White Center quick-serve joint. Here, Executive Chef Brian O’Connor serves sustainably raised Korean fried chicken and biscuits along with a slew of full-flavored riffs on American classics; that includes an excellent Kimchi Mac n’ Cheese. Shell pasta is tossed with a Cheddar cheese sauce until coated, then combined with chopped kimchi made by a local Korean woman who owns a shop across the street from the restaurant. But wait, there’s more! It’s elevated, yet again, with additional contrasting elements on top, including fresh-cut green onions, crispy garlic, crispy shallots and a kick of spice in the form of Korean chile powder.

Marietta, Georgia: Sam’s BBQ-1

We’re just going to say it: The sides are just as important as the meat at barbecue joints. Or, at least, they should be. While that idea is sacrilege to many, it is most definitely the case at Sam’s BBQ-1. The baked macaroni and cheese side is just as treasured as the restaurant's’ slowly smoked pork; that’s saying something. Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese are shredded, measured out with Parmesan, "an obscene amount of heavy cream," and thick and chewy rigatoni. The amalgamation is tossed together, placed in a bowl, then topped with more cheese and baked. (A handful or two of lobster can be added with a special request.) Down in Marietta, this is serious stuff. "If we run out of barbecue, our customers don’t care," says owner Sam Huff. "If we run out of mac, they become violent."

Miami: Meat Market

Macaroni and cheese has become increasingly popular in many different forms: fried mac and cheese, lobster mac and cheese, mac and cheese burgers. The list goes on and on. This Lincoln Road temple of meat offers an all-in-one version with its Fried Lobster Mac & Cheese Burger. Executive Chef/Co-Owner Sean Brasel starts the process by making lobster mac and cheese with a four-cheese combination of Gouda, smoked Cheddar, New York sharp Cheddar and Fontinella. It’s shaped into a patty and frozen, then breaded and flash-fried. The pasta patty is placed on a brioche bun, topped with an Angus prime burger, bacon and Swiss cheese, along with Brasel’s signature roasted chipotle aioli. After eating this hybrid beast of a lunch, it would probably be wise to wait 30 minutes before swimming.

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.

Photo by Angela DeCenzo ©

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.

Photo by Shot in the Dark Photography

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