The classic childhood meal is catching our attention on the menus of Kansas City restaurants just in time for National Macaroni and Cheese Day on July 14.
Take a day off from leafy greens and veggies to indulge in a little extra cheese with these grown-up takes on the dish.
With a name like Mac Daddy, it has to be good—or suffering from delusions of grandeur. Luckily for our stomachs, it’s the former, with creamy mac and cheese getting a sophisticated bump from bacon, scallions, bell pepper, cherry tomato, Bel Paese and Romano cheese. And you can satisfy your craving any time. The dish is offered at lunch, dinner and during Café Trio’s happy hour all day Monday and 2 – 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, when a half-sized portion is just $7. In honor of this most momentous holiday, the restaurant has a deal for you: Get a free Mac Daddy side to share with the purchase of two lunch or dinner entrees.
The Westside Local
If noodles and cheese aren’t enough, taste Westside Mac & Cheese made with herbs, sourdough breadcrumbs and your choice of fresh vegetables or meat. Try the broccoli for a classic combo or the crispy skin trout for an adventure. Snag a table in the beer garden if the weather permits.
BRGR Kitchen + Bar
For a heaping bowl of mac that didn’t come from your microwave, order the side dish or build your own—both come with four cheeses (fontina, Parmesan, Monterey Jack and white cheddar) and buttered breadcrumbs, and the build your own version lets you add options including bacon, steak chili or sautéed onions for an extra kick.
Beer Kitchen also offers an insanely delicious build your own mac and cheese option. The jumbo wheat elbow shells come topped with Wisconsin cheddar, fontina, Pecorino Romano and buttered bread crumbs. Then you choose what to add from a dizzying list that includes everything from blackened chicken and spinach to braised sort ribs and turkey sausage.
Tom + Chee
Two favorites are layered into one crunchy, cheesy bite at Olathe’s Tom + Chee, known for artistic grilled cheese sandwiches and grilled cheese donuts. Order a grilled mac and cheese made with white cheddar and noodles between crisped bread.
Blue Moose Bar & Grill
Garlic and cheese prove to be the perfect pair in Blue Moose’s mac and cheese. Cavatappi pasta is tossed in a creamy six-cheese sauce with garlic. The dish is topped with buttered breadcrumbs and diners can add items such as grilled shrimp skewers and roasted garlic if you want to take the flavor up a notch—and why wouldn’t you?
Macaroni and cheese might not be the most traditionally Italian dish, but you won’t mind after a bite of Jasper’s lobster mac and cheese. And you’ll be in good company—Michelle Obama enjoyed the dish during a visit to KC. Although it’s not on the menu at the restaurant, we’re also fans of Chef Jasper Mirabile Jr.’s Farmhouse Shatto Cheese Curd Mac & Cheese, which gets a flavor boost from spring onion, sherry, cayenne pepper and Shatto milk, cream, butter and cheese curds.
23rd Street Brewery
OK, so Lawrence isn’t technically part of the metro, but we’d be remiss to put together this list without one of 23rd Street‘s signature dishes: The Bill Self. Named after KU’s beloved coach (who has been spotted enjoying his namesake dish from time to time), the Bill Self features incredibly rich and creamy mac and cheese topped with a generous pile of buffalo chicken. Finishing the whole thing is a borderline Herculean feat, so feel no shame opting for a half-portion, available upon request. —Amelia Arvesen and Kelsey Cipolla
Photos via Facebook.