Yelp/ Ziad S.
Macaroni and cheese is one of those foods that’s perfect just the way it is: as a mixture of macaroni and cheese. But that’s not stopping anybody from turning it into completely outrageous creations! We tracked 10 of the wildest plays on this classic comfort food in America.
Vic & Anthony’s
Lobster mac and cheese is a steakhouse staple by now, and is usually the priciest side dish. But Vic & Anthony’s, which has locations in Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Houston, and Lake Charles, Louisiana, is kicking it up another notch with its Fried Lobster Mac & Cheese. It starts with cavatappi pasta that’s been doused in a lobster cheese sauce, and it’s topped with five ounces of deep-fried rock lobster tail.
Yelp/ Angela H.
This restaurant is all about the mac, with 20 different varieties on offer. Its most popular offering is also its most far-out; it’s called Wingin’ It, and it’s made with a combination of cheddar and hot wing sauces, and is topped with big chunks of fried chicken in wing sauce, breadcrumbs, and blue cheese.
Yelp/ Ciara G.
If you know anything about Shopsin’s, the tiny restaurant inside the Essex Street Market that has one of the wildest and most expansive menus on earth, you know that it’s a place to expect the unexpected. Just take the mac ‘n cheese pancakes, for example: macaroni and cheese is mixed right into the pancake batter, and more cheese is sprinkled on top as it cooks. You can order them as-is, or get them topped with everything from barbecue hatch brisket chili and cheese fries to a steak and eggs chimichanga, three cheeseburger sliders, and banana pecan caramel bread pudding. Did we mention that this place is nuts?
Yelp/ Ziad S.
Sarita’s Macaroni & Cheese, or S’MAC for short, is an East Village standby for hearty and creative spins on mac and cheese. But if you can’t make up your mind between the 12 varieties on offer, just go with the sampler platter, which contains eight different specialties: All-American (American and Cheddar blend), Four Cheese (Cheddar, Muenster, Gruyère, and pecorino), Cheeseburger (with ground beef), La Mancha (manchego, fennel, and onions), Cajun (Cheddar, pepper jack, andouille, peppers, onions, and Cajun seasoning), Napoletana (mozzarella, tomato, garlic, and basil), Alpine (Gruyère and bacon), and Parisienne (Brie, figs, mushrooms, and rosemary).
Yelp/ Zhen C.
This playful restaurant does mac and cheese right, and offers 12 different varieties ranging from the lowbrow (cheeseburger mac with American cheese and ground beef) to the highbrow (duck confit, fontina, caramelized onion, and fines herbes). But the wildest creation of all has to be the Mac Reuben, with braised corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and crumbled rye bread crumbs.
The Peninsula Beverly Hills
This popular burger joint (best known for its half bacon/half beef burgers) has six locations across Southern California. The whole menu is about as over-the-top as it gets, and the Loaded Baked Potato Mac N’ Cheese is about is wild as it gets: creamy mac and cheese is topped with mashed potatoes, bacon, cheddar, green onion, sour cream, and a panko-parmesan crust. This may just be the perfect side dish.
Yelp/ Judy S.
One of the most popular dishes on the menu at the Nashville legend is the Piggy Mac. Hiding just below this pile of melty smoked Gouda mac and cheese is a mound of cherry wood-smoked pulled pork, and it’s all served in a piping-hot skillet with a pancake on the side, because why not?
Yelp/ Norm K.
At Elizabeth Blau and Kim Canteenwalla’s Summerlin, Nevada, must-visit, the side dish to order is called simply “Mac & Cheese Waffle,” which makes it sound a lot more unassuming than it is. To make it, a ball of four-cheese macaroni and cheese is coated in panko and pressed into a waffle iron, giving it a crispy exterior and creamy center. A sprinkling of parmesan and a side of cheese sauce kick it up even higher.
Yelp/ Topher S.
Located just north of San Diego, this San Marcos bar is always hopping, and is the place for mac and cheese (with 10 varieties, as well as the opportunity to “make your own,” on offer). While the Fiery (Black Forest ham and jalapeño) and the Beer Cheese (beer cheese, bacon, and red onion) have their legions of fans, the one to order is the Rapture, loaded with pulled pork and caramelized onion. It doesn’t get much more creamy or meaty than this.