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.

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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.

Alamo Drafthouse

<I>Photo: Courtesy, Alamo Drafthouse.</I>

Photo: Courtesy, Alamo Drafthouse.

Thanks to a profanity-laced voicemail from a kicked-out customer that was posted on the Internet, Alamo Drafthouse is known around the globe as a movie theater unafraid to eject rude patrons. Management warns the audience before each show about their strict but reasonable policy on disturbing other guests during the show. You get one warning, but after that, you’re out. Alamo Drafthouse has opened locations across Texas and around the nation and has its fair share of copycats.

Eating a full meal in the darkness of a movie theater is something that takes you a show or two to acclimate to, but once you’re down with it, Alamo Drafthouse brings some good eats. Green chile macaroni is something you definitely need to try, and follow it up with a rich and thick Mexican vanilla shake.

Plucker’s Wing Bar

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

<I>Photo: Courtesy, Jack Allen's Kitchen on Facebook.</I>

Photo: Courtesy, Jack Allen’s Kitchen on Facebook.

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.

This restaurant occupies an Oak Hill location where many restaurants previously failed thus proving that if you run a restaurant right, it can succeed just about anywhere. The parking lot is full each evening, and people walk out the front door satisfied.

Texas Chili Parlor

<I>Photo: Courtesy, Texas Chili Parlor.</I>

Photo: Courtesy, Texas Chili Parlor.

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

<I>Photo courtesy of <a href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/239816748879060014/" target="_blank">Pinterest user Way Out</a>.</I>

Photo courtesy of Pinterest user Way Out.

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.

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