Ooey, gooey and chock-full of melted cheeses, there’s just no dish that’s quite as comforting as macaroni and cheese during the cold winter season. The craving for a creamy bowl of mac can attack at any time, so if you find yourself on the road this month and need an instant cure, stop by one of these top spots for mac and cheese across the country. With options like old-fashioned baked casseroles and gourmet lobster mac on the menu, get ready to sink your spoon into some of the most-indulgent bowls around from these masters of macaroni.
Mad Donna’s — Nashville
With a full section of the menu devoted to Mad Macs, you know that this Music City joint must be serious about mac and cheese. There are six “mad” variations to choose from, but on Heat Seekers, Aarón Sánchez and Roger Mooking braved the most-intense mac of all, the blazing-hot habanero mac and cheese. Amplified by whole peppers and doubly spicy habanero powder, this menacing mac is topped with even more heat in the form of “hellfire crunch,” a mix of crumbled tortilla chips and habanero powder.
Cochon Butcher — New Orleans
This Big Easy sandwich shop is known for its incredible cured meats, so it comes as no surprise that they’re turning out a meaty mac and cheese on the side. The pancetta mac and cheese features a decadent combination of cream cheese and sharp white cheddar, plus a hint of tomato paste for tang. Stuffed with cubes of house-cured pancetta and finished with a Parmesan breadcrumb topping, this belly-filling mac goes far beyond bar food and is a must-order for every visit.
The Duce — Phoenix, Ariz.
You’ll find plenty to keep you busy at this refurbished warehouse, like a soda fountain, a jazz bar and a boxing gym, but best of all, you’ll be introduced to the kitchen’s most-famous creation: mac and cheese muffins. The savory bites host a mix of Gruyere, cheddar and goat cheese-laced macaroni that’s piled over a crispy crust of panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan. You get 10 of these morsels in each order, and Guy Fieri compared the dish to “culinary Christmas,” claiming that they’re worth an extra week at the gym.
Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co. — Topsham, Maine
The claws came out when Bobby Flay challenged the owner of this lobster company to a mac and cheese Throwdown featuring the crimson crustacean. The award-winning Port Clyde Lobster Mac and Cheese has been hailed as “cashmere-quality comfort food,” and the dish features claw and knuckle meat from the freshest local lobsters. Luckily for Bobby and the rest of the country, this seaworthy mac and cheese is available by mail order year-round.
Clarkston Union Bar & Kitchen — Village of Clarkston, Mich.
For the “most macked mac and cheese” in Michigan, as Guy called it, he turned to Kid Rock’s favorite hometown hangout to try a twist on the creamy comfort food. Made with Canadian sharp cheddar and mild Pinconning cheese (an aged, Colby-style cheese), this mac uses penne rigate pasta instead of elbow macaroni so the thick cream sauce settles into the ridges.
Hit the road with our complete guide to the country’s best mac and cheese for even more ways to indulge in a creamy bowl of gold (or two).