Gooey, rich, and creamy. Mmm… Mac and cheese. This delectable side is most often accompanied by other heavy foods like chicken fried steak and barbecue. It certainly comes that way in Austin, but there are plenty of restaurants that put their own spin on this definitively southern treat.
As with any food-related rankings, take the order here with a grain of salt. The most important thing a list like this does is get you into these and other restaurants to inform your personal rankings you share with your friends, family, and out-of-towners. So grab a ladle and your sweatpants because just reading this list might make you five pounds heavier.
Plucker’s Wing Bar | Multiple Locations
Photo via Plucker’s Wing Bar’s Instagram
One of the most famous aspects of the Texas State Fair is the array of deep fried foods available for purchase. Oreos, twinkies, bacon, butter, you name it.
Deep fried oddities aren’t exclusive to Texas-OU weekend. Plucker’s Wing Bar serves up what they call Holy Macaroni, deep fried mac and cheese, year-round. Order it before downing wings coated in your favorite sauce.
Jack Allen’s Kitchen | 3600 North Capital of Texas Highway | 3010 West Anderson Lane | 7720 State Highway 71 West
Photo courtesy of Jack Allen’s Kitchen’s Instagram.
In 1985, Campbell’s began using the slogan “The soup that eats like a meal” to promote their chunky soup. At Jack Allen’s Kitchen, the 5-cheese macaroni and chicken is the mac and cheese that eats like a meal. Get ready for a jumbo helping. The creaminess of the cheese complements the slight kick of the spices on the chicken.
Anthem | 91 Rainey Street
Anthem on Rainey is a Tex-asian pub that has a fun and exciting menu. They’ve take simple mac and cheese balls and made them Tex-asian inspirited. The miso mac daddy is tempura mac and cheese balls with panko, miso butter corn, scallion, sweet soy sauce, spicy aioli, bonito, and ginger. If you’re into trying new dishes this one is for you!
Texas Chili Parlor | 1409 Lavaca Street
People outside Austin know the Texas Chili Parlor for its Mad Dog Margaritas as immortalized in Guy Clark’s song “Dublin Blues.” What non-Austinites might not know about is the wide array of delicious chilies this iconoclastic establishment has to offer. One of their offbeat options is a combination of mac and cheese with chili all in the same bowl. It isn’t for everyone — which may explain why it’s not on the menu — but those who like it swear by it. Order a bowl of chili (pictured), add mac, extra cheese, and sour cream. It’s a savory delight.
Steiner Ranch Steakhouse | 5424 Steiner Ranch Boulevard
Photo courtesy of Steiner Ranch Steakhouse.
Four words: lobster mac and cheese. What!? Of course, you’ll enjoy the steaks, but don’t sleep on the sides.
The restaurant has several private dining rooms with picturesque views of Lake Travis and the Hill Country. Whether you’re stopping in for a steak dinner with your significant other or staying all night for a party with 120 of your friends, this authentically Texas steakhouse will satisfy your hunger.
Parkside | 301 East 6th Street
Photo courtesy of Parkside’s Instagram.
Parkside was opened in 2008 by renowned restaurateur and chef Shawn Cirkiel as Austin’s first gastropub. For the non-foodie reader, a gastropub is a pub that focuses on serving high-quality food. And the mac and cheese lives up to the gastropub standard with a blend of gruyere and cheddar cheeses.
Hillside Farmacy | 1209 East 11th Street
Photo via Hillside Farmacy’s Instagram Page
Hillside Farmacy is a quaint little East Austin eatery and specialty grocery store steps away from the Texas State Cemetery. You can have lunch and then go see the final resting places of famous Texans like Stephen F. Austin, Bob Bullock, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, and Jake Pickle.
The mac and cheese is made with taleggio and australian aged white cheddar and topped with bread crumbs. You can add pancetta, a poached egg, or broccoli to round the dish out, or just leave it with cheese as the star.
Hyde Park Bar and Grill | 4206 Duval Street | 4521 West Gate Boulevard
Homemade cheese cause topped with toasted bread crumbs! Count. Us. In. We’ve heard a lot of good things about Hyde Park’s mac and cheese, so you know it’s good!
Roaring Fork | 701 Congress Avenue | 10850 Stonelake Boulevard
Photo via Roaring Forks Instagram Page
Roaring Fork offers American cuisine using simple cooking methods in wood fire rotisseries, open flame grills, and wood ovens. The rugged flavors and ambiance create a unique dining experience. Be sure to order their green chili mac and cheese alongside whichever mouthwatering entree you choose.
Galaxy Cafe | 1000 West Lynn | 8127 Mesa Drive | 9911 Brodie Lane
Photo via Galaxy Cafe’s Facebook page.
Galaxy Cafe’s food is fresh, and there are plenty of healthy options that will leave you satisfied. Their mac and cheese will please you, but health nuts beware. It is so rich and creamy you have to eat it with a soup spoon … and you’ll be licking that spoon intently after your last bite!
Definitely get the mac and cheese on your first venture to Galaxy. You’ll be coming back, so over your next few visits try the chimichurri steak wrap, smoked turkey sandwich, chicken tortilla soup, and just about everything on their brunch menu.
Colleen’s Kitchen | 1911 Aldrich Street
If a one cheese mac and cheese wasn’t already delicious enough, Colleen’s kitchen added three more cheeses and baked it! It’s the perfect side for their delicious buttermilk fried chicken! You simply can’t go wrong.
Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill | 303 Red River Street
Photo via Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill’s Facebook Page
Anyone who has been to Moonshine loves it. This place knows what it does well and does it over and over. Case in point: their macaroni and cheese made with pimento cheese and topped with a bacon gratin. If you that wasn’t enough to waken your taste buds, try their green chili mac. Try them alongside the apple glazed pork chop, blackened catfish or chicken fried steak.
The restaurant is popular with conventioneers, so if the Austin Convention Center is full of people, this place will be, too. But if you can brave the lunchtime wait, you’ll be glad you did. Their weekend brunches are well-known in Austin, and dinner at Moonshine is a great setting for a date night with your special someone. You’ll want to fill up on the mac and cheese, but save room to split one of their huge desserts.
Yard House | 11800 Domain Boulevard
Photo via Yard House’s Instagram Page
If you’re looking for more of an adventurous take on Mac and cheese look no further. Yard House’s mac and cheese has bacon, chicken, crimini, shiitake & oyster mushrooms, truffle oil, parmesan, and a panko cheddar crust. It’s the loaded bake potato of mac and cheeses.
Yard House has plenty of great food and atmosphere. You’ll want to keep going back to try their delicious menu! We highly recommend the braised short rib ravioli or the grilled Korean beef taco! Seriously you can’t go wrong with anything off their menu.
Eureka | 200 East 6th Street
Eureka’s mac and cheese balls will make you shout EUREKA! Seriously. Not only do they come with beer cheese sauce but Fresno chiles, chives, and parmesan! Need we say more?
Counter Culture | 2337 East Cesar Chavez Street
Photo via Counter Culture’s Instagram Page
Looking for vegan mac and cheese dishes? Look no further. Counter Culture has three delicious vegan options two of which are gluten free. Buffalo Mac and cheese balls, classic baked mac and cheese with broccoli and Tex Mex mac and cheese. They’re amazing as they sound and totally worth the carb load!
Clark’s Oyster Bar | 1200 West 6th Street
Shells and cheese with Lump Crab. Walk, don’t run. Clark’s Oyster Bar has plenty of delicious seafood options but their version of mac and cheese is a must have!
Photo via Clark’s Oyster Bar’s Instagram Page
Tumble 22 | 7211 Burnet Road
Tumble 22 like most places has mac-n-cheese as a side but here’s where they’re different. You can make your order dirty, which means pulled hot chicken and ranch. You gotta try it!
Spud Ranch | 1330 Aquarena Springs Drive (San Marcos) | 118 Common Street (New Braunfels)
Spud Ranch has some crazy good bake potato options but for us it’s their mac spud. It’s exactly what you picture when you think of a mac and cheese baked potato. Macaroni and cheese, butter, bacon bits and chives all inside a delicious baked potato.
Featured photo: Green chili macaroni at Moonshine. Flickr user Jeremy Keith, creative commons licensed.
Looking for more Austin eats? Try these:
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