Now that fall is here, it’s time to treat your palates to more heartier foods. Nothing says cooler temps like filling up on your favorite comfort dishes — and by comfort dishes, we mean macaroni and cheese. (There is no greater comfort food than mac and cheese. Don’t @ us.)
We know, we know: You probably have your own favorite recipe you prefer to make at home. Be adventurous! Here are 12 Charlotte-area chefs and restaurants that make some pretty awesome versions you’ve got to try.
Location varies by pop-up
If you’re vegan or you have dairy sensitivities, you’ll appreciate this take on the classic dish. Chef Joya has won numerous awards for her mac and cheese recipe, and at first bite, you’ll see why. We still haven’t figured out how she gets nondairy cheese to turn out so creamy.
1331 W. Sugar Creek Road
This Black-owned soul food restaurant has been around for a while now, and clearly it’s because of the macaroni and cheese. Cooked to cheesy perfection with a perfectly baked top layer, Chicken Box’s take is always on point.
3418 Tuckaseegee Road
Known for its lobster mac and cheese, this west Charlotte restaurant knows a thing or two about food that comforts the soul. Chef Andarrio Johnson put his own low-country spin on the dish and made it even better. Check out Instagram to find out where Cuzzo’s food truck is hanging out every week.
3106 N. Davidson St.
Located in the heart of NoDa, Jamie Brown and her team are serving up some of the city’s best comfort foods. Among their hits is the mac and cheese side dish with crispy chicken skins.
“As a mac and cheese lover, it’s safe to say Haberdish kills the game,” Wynee Bermudez of the blog Wynee’s World told CharlotteFive. “The mac and cheese is creamy, spicy, and the chicken skins add a yummy crunch to your bite.”
225 S. Poplar St.
This uptown farm-to-table restaurant adds a little something extra to its version. According to the menu, the mac and cheese here is made with smoked cheddar mornay, Benton’s country ham and finished with an herb crust. Yum!
3213 N. Davidson St.
Local food blogger Shay Jackson (@iamshayjackson) raves about the mac at this NoDa eatery: “Jack Beagle’s is my favorite restaurant to visit for great mac and cheese,” she said to Charlotte Five. “The menu offers nine options. Each one is unique and delicious. I’m a big fan of the ‘Jack Mac’ and the ‘Thai Mac.’”
Nothing goes better with smoked meat than a side of this cheesy dish. At only $3.50 a serving, you’ll be tempted to order more. Bonus: With several locations across the Charlotte area, you won’t have to drive too far to get your fix.
327 S. Tryon St.
If you don’t typically associate this fairly upscale restaurant with macaroni and cheese, think again. The dinner menu features both a pimento cheese version (usually paired with certain dishes) as well as a baked lobster mac and cheese (which includes butternut squash, smoked cheddar fondue, tasso ham and roasted mushroom) as a side option.
5933 Albemarle Road
This small east Charlotte eatery offers its own unique twist with what Chef Rojshawn Dontae has dubbed the Jerk Mac. Cory Wilkins of @dailyspecialsclt highly recommends pairing it with the Henny hot wings. (Though you can also opt for the seafood mac.)
150 N. College St. or 6601 Morrison Blvd.
You can order it for your entrée during lunch or as a shareable side during dinner — either way, the folks at Rooster’s make sure you can satisfy your mac craving any time of the day.
This local food truck is known for its insane loaded French fries — including a lobster mac and cheese fry made with gouda, asiago, lobster claw and more. Now that’s how you do comfort food.
The Mediterranean meets the Middle East at this fast casual spot. Its Greek yogurt mac and cheese is not to be missed. Here’s a little tip: Mix it with the Brussels sprouts to kick things up a notch.