Gooey Golden Goodness

A gal’s search for the city’s best mac and cheese

What may have originated as a humble comfort food now proudly permanently resides on several local restaurant menus. With hints of spice, smokiness and blends of premium cheeses, this little side dish has evolved into adult versions that sometimes include bacon, lobster, crab, truffle oil or green chile. It’s one of the only foods where just one bite will take you back to your childhood.

Heim Barbecue – Green Chile Mac & Cheese
Coming in single-, pint- or quart-sized portions, the Green Chile Mac & Cheese at Heim Barbecue is the perfect spicy accompaniment to the heavenly Bacon Burnt Ends. Devoted patrons begin lining up early, so get there early so you won’t miss out.
1109 W. Magnolia Ave.

Madea’s Down Home Cooking – Mac n’ Cheese
If you miss your grandma’s cooking, Madea’s is the next best thing. Served from the heart, this dish is the perfect consistency with equal parts gooey and creamy. Meals come with three sides, and our bet is you’ll choose the Mac n’ Cheese for all three.
1019 W. Enon Ave.

Del Frisco’s – Jalapeño Bacon Macaroni and Cheese
Beginning with three-cheese sauce blended with elbow macaroni, sautéed chopped jalapeno and bacon are next incorporated. Parmesan gratin is added before baked to golden perfection. It’s no wonder this is one of the most popular sides at Del Frisco’s. While it may be intended to serve four people, sharing is not enforced.
812 Main St.

Cooper’s BBQ – Mesquite Smoked Mac and Cheese
Once you make it past the sea of brisket, steak, pork chops and ribs, take a few more steps to grab your sides. The Mesquite Smoked Mac and Cheese at Cooper’s stands out because it finishes the dish on an open pit over mesquite coals.
301 Stockyards Blvd.

Brewed – Bacon Mac ‘n’ Three Cheese ($7.50)
Combining Texas aged cheddar, Parmesan and smoked Gouda, Brewed’s Bacon Mac ‘n’ Three Cheese is melted with a béchamel sauce before being tossed with macaroni. Chopped roasted tomato and bacon crumbles finish off this hearty dish.
801 W. Magnolia Ave.

Buttons – Buttons’ Mac and Cheese
When I think of soul food, I think of Buttons. Chef Keith Hicks does it up right with his traditional version, blending cheddar, Asiago, Parmesan and Monterrey Jack cheeses. Buttery breadcrumbs are toasted on top for a little crunch to complement the creaminess.
4701 West Fwy., Ste. 100