Food & Drink

For the Love of Cheese: Philly's Best Mac & Cheese Dishes

Meltkraft Valley Thunder
Meltkraft/NYC Food Photo

If you said that you didn't like mac & cheese, it's either because you're (sadly) lactose-intolerant, or straight-up lying. This is a safe space; your love of cheese-based dishes (cheesesteaks included) is embraced and encouraged. Thus, we've searched Philly and its suburbs to find the best mac & cheese dishes, bringing a pair of sweatpants along with us. There's no shame in clearing your afternoon for a solid nap after one of these.

Lobster mac & cheese

Village Whiskey (address and info)
Though this Jose Garces spot gets a lot of love for its burger (one of the best in town, some might say), it’s not to say Village Whiskey can’t serve some gooey, cheesy carbs of the same caliber. Enter the fontina-and-mascarpone-drenched lobster mac, topped with crumbs and mixed with perfectly tender lobster chunks. This is the lobster mac n’ cheese combo that'll make you forget you were supposed to order that other thing on the menu.

Mac & cheese pizza

Birra (address and info)
Consider this a youthful take on white pizza; instead of splotches of ricotta, there are chunks of macaroni, Taleggio, pecorino, fontina, and mozzarella, and just the right amount of herbs and seasoning.

Baked mac & cheese

The Fat Ham (address and info)
University City
No Southern comfort food menu would be complete without a side (or center?) of mac & cheese, and the aptly named Fat Ham delivers. Served straight from the pot (don't burn yourself in greedy haste), the dish separates itself from other cheesy wannabes with an artful sprinkle of smoked cracker crumbs.

Short rib mac & cheese fritters

The Sidecar Bar & Grille (address and info)
Graduate Hospital
Fried mac & cheese is undoubtedly the perfect bar snack. Add short rib to that spherical equation -- or any of the other special concoctions Sidecar invents (looking at you, mac & cheese carbonara) -- and you have the most delicious thing to happen at happy hour since beer.

Valley Thunder

MeltKraft (address and info)
Reading Terminal Market
Brisket, sharp cheddar, and baked mac & cheese come together in one golden, crispy sandwich at this stand in the east end of Reading Terminal Market. If that’s not quite enough mastery to hold in your own two hands, make things even more interesting/terrifying by adding some bacon, chicken, or truffle oil into the mix before the whole thing's baked in duck fat. If you’ve already made it that far, why hold back?

Mac & cheese

Franky Bradley’s (address and info)
Midtown Village
For another creative take on a traditional mac & cheese plate, look to one of the trendiest places in Center City, dually serving as the place to get your dance on every weekend. Find braised ham hocks and oven dried tomatoes in Franky Bradley's rich three-cheese sauce. Top it off with garlic breadcrumbs, and you've officially carbo-loaded in preparation for dancing all night.

Spicy crab mac & cheese

Christopher’s (address and info)
By now, you should know there are many, many foodie treasures on the Main Line. It’s only fitting that one of the painfully hippest areas in Wayne would be home to an atypical mac & cheese appetizer: four kinds of cheeses are blended with chunks of fresh crabmeat and spicy tomatoes. Wash it down with a blueberry mojito.

Tableside mac & cheese

Azie (address and info)
Well out into the suburbs, it’s easy to justify a trip to Azie for this five-cheese macaroni, mixed with jumbo shrimp and topped with crispy quinoa. Even more tantalizing is Azie's trick of cooking the masterpiece at your table.

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Marielle Mondon is a freelance writer from Philly who sees nothing wrong with mac & cheese for breakfast. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @MarielleMondon.