America's best mac and cheese
Thomas Jefferson helped popularize mac and cheese when he served the dish at an 1802 state dinner (after lugging home a pasta machine from France). Ever since, chefs have been whipping up their own incarnations of this quintessential comfort food.
(Photo: Alanna Hale)
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Other restaurants, like Community Q in Atlanta and The Old Fashioned in Madison, WI, win over diners by perfecting the mac-and-cheese basics.
No matter how they prefer it, enthusiasts would surely agree on two points: mac and cheese can be so much tastier than the kind that comes in a blue box, and it’s worth traveling to sample the very best. Check out our favorites below.
Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, Seattle and New York
Photo courtesy of Beecher’s
Located in Seattle’s iconic Pike Place Market, Beecher’s wins multiple American Cheese Society awards each year and has been heralded by die-hard fans as well as The Martha Stewart Show as the “world’s best.” The dish gets its special oomph from Beecher’s Flagship cheese, which is aged 15 months to develop its signature nutty flavor. A dash of chipotle adds a hint of smokiness. No plans to venture west? Swing by Beecher’s New York City outpost—or try the recipe at home.
Cheesetique, Arlington and Alexandria, VA
Photo courtesy of Cheesetique
In 2004, Cheesetique owner Jill Erber ditched a cushy office job developing software to open her very own cheese emporium (and wine bar, as of 2008). We’ll be forever grateful she did: the shop’s decadent mac features a mix of rich goat Gouda, zesty Asiago, and tangy Cacio di Roma. For extra crunch, Erber tops her gooey masterpiece with crispy bread crumbs coated in truffle oil.