The 11 Gooeyest, Cheesiest, Best Mac & Cheese Dishes In Chicago
By Anthony Todd in Food on Mar 2, 2017 4:00PM
We all-but-grew-up on the stuff from the iconic blue and orange box. You know, the one with the electric-hued powder that mixed with milk to make magic? But let’s be honest: not all mac and cheese is created equal. Some of it, frankly, sucks. Of course, our favorite versions of the gooey, noodle-y dish most certainly don’t. So, loosen your belt (or pull on some elastic waist pants) and dive in. And if we're missing one of your favorite Chicago spots, please let us know by commenting!
—By Jennifer Olvera
Mac and Cheese, via AMK's Instagram.
The award-winning, skillet-baked mac and cheese at AMK is worth every calorie. Cloaked in a melty, jalapeno and bacon-stippled mix of havarti, fontina, provolone, Asiago and Gouda, it’s topped with more cheese and showered with breadcrumbs. “Perfection” is the first word that comes to mind.
AMK is at 1954 W. Armitage Ave.
Mindy’s Hot Chocolate
Featuring a lush mix of Gruyère, American and cheddar cheeses, Hot Chocolate serves an impressive rendition that’s so saucy you’d benefit from a spoon. Use yours to break open the crackly, browned top and scoop up the molten goodness within. Then, and ask for some bread to sop up the remains.
Mindy’s Hot Chocolate is at 1747 N. Damen Ave.
Mac & Cheese at Maple & Ash. Photo via Facebook.
For an especially decadent version of mac and cheese, head to elegant Maple & Ash. Served in a cast-iron dish, the noodles are swathed in a blend of Gruyère, mascarpone, raclette and comté, all tied together with creamy béchamel, nuggets of salty bacon and a breadcrumb topping.
Maple & Ash is at 8 W. Maple St.
Bar Pastoral is a cheese shop, one that not surprisingly knows its stuff — stuff that it struts in its seasonally inspired, dinnertime mac and cheese. Depending on when you dine, it may feature the likes of sweet butternut squash, candied bacon and a blend of funky Taleggio and nutty, Parmesan-like Podda.
Bar Pastoral is at 2947 N. Broadway.
Kuma's Mac & Cheese via Instagram
It’s a design-your-own affair at Kuma’s Corner, where cavatappi combines with four cheeses as your base. From there, choose from the lengthy list of mac and cheese toppers, which include caramelized onions and Andouille sausage. Finished with breadcrumbs and sliced green onions, it’s a work of art just waiting to be devoured.
Kuma’s Corner is at 2900 W. Belmont Ave., 666 W. Diversey Pkwy., 852 W Fulton Market and 1570 E. Golf Rd., Schaumburg
When you’re looking for a version of mac and cheese that’s about as classic as it gets, the one at cash-only, cafeteria-style Valois is the way to go. Creamy, smooth and familiar in its approach, it’s heaped into a bowl in no-frills fashion. Just be sure to plan your visit accordingly since it’s on special on Fridays and Sundays.
Valois is at 1518 E. 53rd St.
Pimento Mac & Cheese at Honey Butter Fried Chicken. Photo via Facebook.
The buffalo mac and cheese at poultry purveyor Honey Butter Fried Chicken is destination-worthy in its own right. Pimento cheddar-soused corkscrew noodles are loaded with bite-size pieces of signature, crunchy fried chicken and the whole shebang is kicked into high gear with just-spicy-enough buffalo sauce. Fried “crunchies” tie it all together.
Honey Butter Fried Chicken is at 3361 N. Elston Ave.
If you’ve never encountered the five-cheese mac and cheese from Frontier, make fast tracks. And if you already have? Consider this a reminder to hightail it there anyway. It arrives at the table all bubbly, browned and all-but-overflowing from the rectangular, cheese-crusted cast-iron casserole dish that (barely) contains it. Crack through the gorgeous top layer, and you’ll find sharp, creamy cheese-coated fusilli within.
Frontier is at 1072 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Bub City Mac & Cheese. Photo via Facebook.
Topped with tender beef brisket and tongue-singeing jalapenos, Bub City’s chipotle-brisket mac and cheese is a thing of great worth. Baked in a cast-iron crock, its noodles are enveloped in creamy, smoky chipotle-spiked cheese sauce. Basically, you’ll find yourself wishing you had leftovers — but you won’t
Bub City is at 435 N. Clark St., Chicago, and 5411 Park Pl., Rosemont
A deviation from the norm - Cheesie’s Pub & Grub griddles up something spectacular: a mac and cheese-stuffed grilled cheese sandwich called The Mac. Its toasty exterior is a surprisingly logical vehicle for the generously sauced noodles within.
Cheesie’s Pub & Grub is at 958 W. Belmont Ave.
Lobster Mac and Cheese via GT Fish & Oyster Instagram
Orecchiette and English peas team with an ultra-silky three-cheese blend to make this stellar side dish. But it doesn’t stop there: this top-tier find hides and, is christened with, plenty of sweet lobster meat. Brioche breadcrumbs only further its over-the-top appeal.
GT Fish & Oyster is at 531 N. Wells St.