9 Bowls of Macaroni and Cheese Worth Every Calorie

First, adult versions of the grilled cheese started popping up on menus all around town. Now, it’s perfectly acceptable for adults to order macaroni and cheese for dinner at a restaurant. Of course, the grown-up versions are a far cry from the bland stuff from a box. Modern mac and cheese is made with bold flavors and decadent toppings (think gruyere, fontina, Adouille sausage, jalapenos). Here are nine Chicago area restaurants where you can get an ooey, gooey bowl of mac that will be worth every single calorie.

DMK Burger Bar

Whether you go with Mac and Cheese No. 1, 2 or 3, you can’t go wrong. We love No. 2 ($9) for its use of gruyere, smoked bacon and charred balsamic red onion. Executive chef and co-owner Michael Kornick says their mac is the best because they use different types of cheddar – sharp from New York for bold flavor and mild from Wisconsin for extra creaminess. 2954 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago, 773-360-8686

Kuma’s Corner

Although Kuma’s is famous for its burgers and head bangers, the build-your-own mac and cheese is a thing of beauty not to be overlooked. With mix-ins including Andouille sausage, bacon, broccoli, caramelized onions, chicken, corn, garlic, green onion, jalapeno, peas, roasted red pepper and sun-dried tomato, you can create your own custom mac and cheese. 2900 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, 773-604-8769; 1570 E. Golf Road, Schaumburg, 847-240-1200

Photo courtesy of Kuma’s Corner.

Mindy’s HotChocolate

The menus bills Mindy’s mac ($13) as: “Never changes, always a treat.” So, you can expect this mac-and-cheese experience to be heavenly time after time. The creamy harmony of American and gruyere cheeses and elbow pasta elevates this comfort food classic. 1747 N Damen Ave., Chicago, 773-489-1747

Wilde Bar & Restaurant

Take a walk on the “Wilde” side and go for the cavatappi with Irish cheddar, Irish bacon, tomato, caramelized onion and garlic crumb crust mac and cheese ($10). Cozy up in a leather booth or sit by the fireplace at this Irish bar and restaurant in Lakeview. A beer flight is the perfect pairing for the loaded and flavorful mac and cheese. 3130 N. Broadway Ave., Chicago, 773-244-0404

Park Tavern

Behold the Jalapeno Bacon Mac ($6). For those who love a little heat, this old favorite has a spicy kick with freshly sliced jalapenos atop a giant portion of spiral noodles and aged sharp cheddar. Crispy bacon and toasted paprika-parmesan breadcrumb topping are like icing on the cheesy cake. 1645 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, 312-243-4276; 5433 Park Place, Rosemont, 847-349-5151

The Monkey’s Paw

Established in 2012, this Lincoln Park neighborhood gastro pub serves up farm-to-table fare. Their mac might take the cake for the best variety of cheeses. On deck are Carr Valley fontina, Carr Valley cheddar, SarVecchio parmesan, Andrew & Everett American, Beecher’s Flagship smoked cheddar and panko breadcrumbs for crunch ($8/$14). It is super cheesy and creamy, and you can add house-cured bacon if you really want to splurge. 2524 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, 773-413-9314


Utilizing dairy resources available locally, Farmhouse’s executive chef Eric Mansavage created a baked mac-and-cheese dish that reflects the best of the Midwest. It’s a creamy combination of Wisconsin sharp cheddar, fontina and smoked gouda cheeses. Extra cheddar on top and a buttery herb crust have this plate coming out caramelized and golden. Get a single serving for $6 or shareable serving for $12. 703 Church St., Evanston, 847-492-9700; 228 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, 312-280-4960

Photo courtesy of Farmhouse.

Bub City

Everyone knows that barbecue joints excel in the mac-and-cheese department. Bub City is no exception. Your mouth will water when you hear the range of mac options, including Phoebe’s classic, chipotle-brisket and baby back mac ($7-12). You can’t go wrong with the addition of tender meat to the perfectly-baked cheesy goodness. 435 N. Clark St., Chicago, 312-610-4200

The Southern

Classic elbow noodles with cheddar, gruyere, fontina and brown butter makes for an upscale take on the traditional macaroni and cheese ($10). The Southern has a laid-back atmosphere and plenty of small-batch bourbons and brews. Come for the mac and stay for the soulful, down-to-earth dining experience. 1840 W. North Ave., Chicago, 773-342-1840

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