If we could eat only one comfort food for the rest of our lives, it would be—hands down—macaroni and cheese. So we’re going on a road trip to find the most epic bowls of mac and cheese in the country. Bring extra napkins.
ALABAMA: JOHN’S CITY DINER
It’s easy to see why this Birmingham joint is famous for its mac and cheese—the Three Little Pigs is laced with prosciutto and local bacon, then topped with pulled pork and fried onions.
112 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd N., Birmingham; 205-322-6014 or johnscitydiner.com
ALASKA: SNOW CITY CAFE
Equal parts ooey and gooey. Get it with a slice of homemade meatloaf.
1034 W. Fourth Ave., Anchorage; 907-272-2489 or snowcitycafe.com
ARIZONA: THE MAIN INGREDIENT ALE HOUSE & CAFE
The secret to this famous Phoenix mac and cheese? It’s baked in a huge sheet pan, then cut into squares.
2337 N. Seventh St., Phoenix; 602-843-6246 or tmialehouse.com
ARKANSAS: RAZORBACK STADIUM
Meet the Mac Attack Burger, sold at the concessions stand at the home field of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Bet it’s pretty hard to focus on the game when you’re eating this guy.
350 N. Razorback Rd., Fayetteville; arkansasrazorbacks.com
CALIFORNIA: BLUE PLATE
The state of California has a bunch of serious contenders, but the macaroni and drunken Spanish goat cheese at this San Francisco spot is tangy, bubbly perfection.
3218 Mission St., San Francisco; 415-282-6777 or blueplatesf.com
We’re just gonna say it: The creamy lobster mac and cheese is a national treasure.
225 E. Seventh Ave., Denver; 303-832-4778 or mizunadenver.com
CONNECTICUT: HOME RESTAURANT
You can’t go wrong with over-the-top creations like chicken-and-waffle mac, BBQ mac and buffalo mac (above).
1114 Main St., Branford; 203-483-5896 or homerestaurantct.com
DELAWARE: GRANDPA MAC
This joint on Rehoboth Beach has plenty of meaty, cheesy options, but we were über impressed with this vegan number smothered with walnut chili, Daiya cheese and bread crumbs.
33 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth; 302-727-5509 or grandpamac.com
FLORIDA: HUAHUA’S TAQUERIA
OK, when we hear “Mexican restaurant,” we don’t automatically think “killer mac and cheese,” but this Queso Mac, with queso blanco, cotija, Oaxaca and Jack cheeses and sprinkled with homemade tortilla chips, is what dreams are made of.
1211 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach; 305-534-8226 or huahuastaco.com
GEORGIA: COMMUNITY BBQ
These soupy, satisfying noodles typically come as a side, but we think we’ll order four next time.
1361 Clairmont Rd., Decatur; 404-633-2080 or communityqbbq.com
HAWAII: MORNING GLASS COFFEE + CAFÉ
Yep, those are mac-and-cheese pancakes. With syrup. BRB, booking a flight to Honolulu.
2955 E. Manoa Rd., Honolulu; 808-673-0065 or morningglasscoffee.com
IDAHO: BERRYHILL RESTAURANT & BAR
Shh, there’s bacon hidden under those baked tomatoes. Lots of bacon.
121 N. Ninth St., Boise; 208-387-3553 or johnberryhillrestaurants.com
Admit it—your life needs more smoked Gouda. This Chicago hot spot’s creamy mac and cheese is coming to the rescue.
2311 W. North Ave., Chicago; 773-384-9546 or handlebarchicago.com
INDIANA: THE EAGLE
This mac and cheese defies the laws of physics. How can it be both saucy and crunchy at the same time? Mind blown.
310 Massachusetts Ave., Indianapolis; 317-929-1799 or theeagleotr.com
IOWA: THE CHEESE SHOP OF DES MOINES
Oooh, this combo of Gouda, aged cheddar, Mornay sauce and bread crumbs is dangerous.
833 42nd St., Des Moines; 515-528-8181 or thecheeseshopdsm.com
KANSAS: JON RUSSELL’S BBQ
Pair this cheesy bowl of goodness with a pulled pork sandwich. Trust us.
12094 W. 135th St., Overland Park; 913-213-6944 or jonrussellsbbq.com
KENTUCKY: TOM + CHEE
Nope, you’re not hallucinating. That’s mac and cheese stuffed inside a grilled cheese sandwich.
1704 Bardstown Rd., Louisville; 502-409-9494 or tomandchee.com
Try the signature mac, or kick it up with lobster, which is described on the menu as “a lap dance for your mouth.” Um, when in New Orleans...
8801 Oak St., New Orleans; 504-866-4222 or cowbell-nola.com
MAINE: HOT SUPPA!
Psst, gluten-free friends: You can get this creamy deliciousness made with GF noodles.
703 Congress St., Portland; 207-871-5005 or hotsuppa.com
MARYLAND: MAMA’S ON THE HALF SHELL
This bread-crumb-topped masterpiece gets extra bonus points because you can order it with crab cakes.
2901 O’Donnell St., Baltimore; 410-276-3160 or mamasmd.com
Yep, it’s officially possible to hide an entire serving of veggies in a bowl of decadent mac and cheese.
69 Broomfield St., Boston; 617-338-7887 or silvertonedowntown.com
MICHIGAN: SLOWS BAR BQ
Word of mouth has made Brian Perrone’s baked mac legendary. And even though it’s bursting with flavor, it’s made with only one type of cheese: cheddar.
2138 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-962-9828 or slowsbarbq.com
MINNESOTA: RED STAG SUPPERCLUB
You can get it with or without lobster. The choice is yours. (Or just get both. We won’t judge.)
509 First Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-767-7766 or redstagsupperclub.com
MISSISSIPPI: ROOSTER’S RESTAURANT
Mac and cheese and fried chicken…has a more perfect union ever been created?
2906 N. State St. #104, Jackson; 601-982-2001 or glennfoods.com
MISSOURI: SWEETIE PIE’S
The fried chicken at this St. Louis soul food spot is great, but the baked mac and cheese is the unsung hero.
3653 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis; 314-371-0304 or sweetiepieskitchen.com
MONTANA: THE NOTORIOUS PIG BBQ
Guys. You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten mac and cheese topped with crushed Doritos. You just haven’t.
247 W. Front St., Missoula; 406-926-1344 or thenotoriouspigbbq.com
NEBRASKA: MARKS FOOD, WINE AND SPIRIT
Spiral noodles, tangy sauce and panko bread crumbs? We’re in.
4916 Underwood Ave., Omaha; 402-502-2203 or marksindundee.com
NEVADA: YARDBIRD SOUTHERN TABLE & BAR
Fact: Everything is better in a skillet, and this super-saucy baked mac is no exception.
The Venetian, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas; 702-297-6541 or runchickenrun.com
NEW HAMPSHIRE: MR. MAC’S MACARONI AND CHEESE
With 19 varieties, we give you full permission to eat here three times a day for the rest of the week. One Philly cheesesteak mac and cheese, please. Oh, and a shrimp scampi mac, too.
497 Hooksett Rd., Manchester; 603-606-1760 or mr-macs.com
NEW JERSEY: TRAP ROCK RESTAURANT & BREWERY
Oh hey, pulled-pork mac and cheese topped with piles and piles of gooey cheese. Pleasure to meet you.
279 Springfield Ave., Berkeley Heights; 908-665-1755 or traprockrestaurant.net
NEW MEXICO: Standard Diner
This renovated Texaco station serves up cavatappi pasta with Gruyère, Irish cheddar and Parmesan bread crumbs. Ask for green chiles on top.
320 Central Ave. SE, Albuquerque; 505-243-1440 or standarddiner.com
NEW YORK: BEECHER’S HANDMADE CHEESE
The mac and cheese competition in the Big Apple is stiff, but this Seattle-based cheese shop has melted the hearts of jaded Manhattanites.
900 Broadway, New York; 212-466-3340 or beechershandmadecheese.com
NORTH CAROLINA: POOLE’S DOWNTOWN DINER
The creamy-and-crunchy macaroni au gratin, made with Jarlsberg, Grana Padano and white cheddar, is a statewide-hit.
426 S. McDowell St., Raleigh; 919-832-4477 or ac-restaurants.com/pooles
NORTH DAKOTA: DRUNKEN NOODLE
This restaurant has mostly Asian fare, but it serves up a surprisingly good mac and cheese, too. Try it with Sriracha drizzled on top.
623 NP Ave., Fargo; 701-232-3380 or drunkennoodle.com
OK, this is mac and cheese at its fanciest: butter-poached Maine lobster, cognac reduction, chives and a blend of Brie and goat cheese. Yum.
2417 Professor Ave., Cleveland; 216-781-8858 or chefroccowhalen.com
OKLAHOMA: IRON STAR URBAN BBQ
Eat this wonderfully gooey mac and cheese with a side of green chili corn-bread.
3700 N. Shartel Ave., Oklahoma City; 405-524-5925 or ironstarokc.com
OREGON: LITTLE BIRD BISTRO
This baked mac and cheese is made with a blend of white cheddar, Gruyère cheese and a rotating wild-card cheese that could be anything from goat to blue. We love living on the edge.
215 SW Sixth Ave., Portland; 503-688-5952 or littlebirdbistro.com
PENNSYLVANIA: MAC MART
You can’t go wrong with any of the mac and cheese concoctions at this Philly food truck (and recently opened brick-and-mortar shop). Try the Heart Attack Mac, with caramelized onions, bacon and potato chip panko bread crumbs.
104 S. 18th St., Philadelphia; 215-444-6144 or macmartcart.com
RHODE ISLAND: SAY CHEESE
Seven words: Build your own mac and cheese bowls. We’ll take ours with bacon and buffalo chicken, please.
45 Weybosset St., Providence; 401-228-6860 or saycheeseprovidence.com
SOUTH CAROLINA: CRAVE KITCHEN & COCKTAILS
This is the most award-winning mac and cheese in the country (whoa). Get yours with pulled pork, bacon, broccoli, sea scallops, shrimp, grilled chicken, short ribs…or get really adventurous and try all of the above.
1968 Riviera Dr., Mt. Pleasant; 843-884-1177 or cravekitchenandcocktails.com
SOUTH DAKOTA: DAKOTAH STEAKHOUSE
You know what? Macaroni and cheese isn’t decadent enough. Let’s batter it and deep-fry it.
1325 N. Elk Vale Rd., Rapid City; 605-791-1800 or dakotahsteakhouse.com
TENNESSEE: LUNCHBOX EATS
This cafeteria-style Memphis lunch joint serves way better mac and cheese than our high school did.
288 S. Fourth St., Memphis; 901-526-0820
This brilliant combo of Gruyère and cheddar baked in a skillet pan is our version of heaven.
301 E. Sixth St., Austin; 512-474-9898 or parkside-austin.com
UTAH: RUTH’S DINER
This mac and cheese was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, so you know it has to be good. (Oh, and the secret ingredient? Cottage cheese.)
4160 Emigration Canyon Rd., Salt Lake City; 801-582-5807 or ruthsdiner.com
VERMONT: VERMONT COUNTRY DELI
Grab a half pound of deliciousness from this country store for under $4.
436 Western Ave., Brattleboro; 802-257-9254 or vermontcountrydeli.com
This delicious blend of goat Gouda, Asiago and Cacio de Roma creates the creamiest sauce we’ve ever tried.
Locations in Alexandria and Arlington; 703-556-9189 or cheesetique.com
WASHINGTON: GOLDEN BEETLE
This Seattle Mediterranean spot has a build-your-own mac and cheese bar on Mondays. We’ll take ours with spicy harissa and lamb sausage, please.
1744 NW Market St., Seattle; 206-706-2977 or golden-beetle.com
WEST VIRGINIA: DIRTY BIRD
Go ahead, have seconds. (You know what? It’s really small. Thirds.)
301 High St., Morgantown; 304-284-9599
WISCONSIN: THE OLD FASHIONED
If there’s one state that knows its mac and cheese, it’s Wisconsin. And this Madison staple isn’t kidding around. It cooks its version on the stovetop, then bakes it with bread crumbs at the last minute for added crunch.
23 N. Pinckney St. #1, Madison; 608-310-4545 or theoldfashioned.com
WYOMING: HQ BBQ
It’s called the epic mac and cheese for a reason—you can get it topped with grilled chicken and broccoli, a cheeseburger or brisket chili.
70 S. Curtis St., Evansville; 307-315-6947 or caspermenus.com
WASHINGTON, D.C.: THE PINCH
Don’t worry, dear District of Columbia, we’d never forget you. Go on Mondays, when the mouthwatering mac is made with duck bacon.
3548 14th St. NW, Columbia Heights; 202-722-4440 or thepinchdc.com