Food & Drink

DC’s 9 best mac 'n cheese dishes

Published On 02/19/2014 Published On 02/19/2014
DC mac and cheese
Laura Hayes

Mac 'n cheese is probably the ultimate comfort food, but it can only do its job and make you briefly forget about how much everything sucks if you know where to get a decent bowl -- that’s why we nobly put on our stretchy pants, did the delicious research, and tracked down DC’s finest curdy treats.

Laura Hayes

The Pinch -- Mac 'n' Quack
Columbia Heights
Two words make this dish DC’s best mac: duck bacon. The CoHi watering hole won’t tell you how it’s made (cool or scary?) but they do make it in-house. Also, important note: this Gouda-laced heart stopper is only available Mondays (as are free JELL-O shots!).

Laura Hayes

Oohh’s and Aahh’s -- Macaroni & Cheese
U Street
This classic soul food spot serves classic soul food mac 'n cheese -- the recipe's been in the family for three generations, it combines six different cheeses, weighs in at a just $3.95, and is totally delicious. 

Laura Hayes

Cheesetique -- Bacon ‘N Blue
So, this may well be THE best Alexander Hammy you can spend in the state of Virginia. Cambozola cheese (Gorg’s somehow stinkier cousin) commingles with crumbled bacon, roasted toms, and fusilli pasta. Also? The spot’s a wine bar and cheese shop to boot, so you can get a little of the goodness to take home with you.

Laura Hayes

Range -- Old Bay Lobster Mac
Friendship Heights
Old Bay seasoning plus Parmesan and cheddar cheese combine with oversized "macaroni" (seriously, they're GIANT) before being topped with generous hunks of Maine lobster. Sure, it's a little exorbitant at $18, but it's completely worth it, and it's definitely no side dish. 

Scott Suchman

Co-Co Sala -- Bacon Mac & Cheese
Metro Center
Can a chocolate emporium produce award-winning mac 'n cheese?? Apparently so, and they can even brazenly include chocolate in it too. This sucker comes with a thick slab of chocolate-covered bacon to be stirred into the four cheese-covered orecchiette, and it works like a freaking dream.

Laura Hayes

The Pig -- Truffle Crust Mac & Cheese
Logan Circle
The Pig easily scoops the crown for best value, because as fancy as "truffle crust" sounds, and as delicious as these Gruyere, white cheddar, and goat cheese-filled mini-crocks are, they’re actually crazy reasonable. In fact, when was the last time you got truffle ANYTHING for $7.50?

Renee Comet

Founding Farmers -- Macaroni and Cheese
Foggy Bottom
For those feeling a little nostalgic, there’s Founding Farmers' mac 'n cheese, which is loaded with childhood staples -- we’re talking ham, peas, and apples -- and of course there’s Gouda and Gruyere in there too (otherwise it would just be "Macaroni and").

Laura Hayes

Stoney’s on L -- Buffalo Mac-N-Cheese
West End
If you took a buffalo wing and used it as a whisk in a super creamy mac 'n cheese until it completely disintegrated but magically left no bones behind, you’d get Stoney’s famed Mac-N-Cheese. It’s all in there: buffalo sauce, grilled chicken, diced celery, and crumbled bleu cheese sauce. Sure, you can get this game-day classic on P Street, but L Street is just so new and shiny (read: better bathrooms).


Food Truck
The rumors are true -- CapMac, which closed its window in 2013, will be imminently resurrected under fan-turned-owner Josh Warner, and bringing back its frankly incredible Classic CapMac’n Cheese, which throws together cheddar, pimento, and a Cheez-It crumble.

Laura Hayes is a contributing writer at Thrillist and the founder of Best Thing on the Menu. She counteracts her passion for food and killer cocktails with CrossFit and corgi walks. Follow her adventures @BTMenu.

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1. Oohh's & Aahh's 1005 U St NW, Washington, DC 20001 (U Street)

Conveniently located on U Street and open until 4a on weekends for your late-night soul food satiation, Oohh's and Aahh's (cash-only) delivers on delicious fried chicken, wings, and mac n' cheese.

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2. The Pig 1320 14th St NW , Washington, DC 20005 (Logan Circle)

From the folks behind Logan Tavern and The Heights, The Pig's got a pork-focused sharing menu and a rustic, general store feel: Frederick-sourced barn wood walls, and an entire bar made from a huge butcher's block, so -- chop chop! -- get to drinking on it.

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3. The Pinch 3548 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20010 (Columbia Heights)

Kept as low-lit as you'll be well-lit, Pinch has got a cement-topped bar serving up a quality beer list starting at $5 and a kitchen whose eats are kept under $10, meaning your fatness will be rivaled only by that of your wallet as you feast in a dive painted bright red and outfitted with reclaimed barstools from Ruff & Ready.

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4. Cheesetique Campbell Ave, Arlington, VA 22206 (Arlington)

Cheese, cheese, and more cheese. The best of which might be their various mac and cheese varieties or their grilled cheese sammies, but we'll let you be the judge of that.

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5. RANGE 5335 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20015 (Friendship Heights)

With 300 tables, two open kitchens, and a menu that borrows from both Italian and American cuisine, Bryan Voltaggio's newest restaurant shows some truly impressive range (sorry). Stationed in the Chevy Chase Pavilion, the sleek 14,000sqft eatery boasts a rotisserie-equipped wood-oven, a raw bar, and a separate in-house Salumeria for the careful treatment of locally-sourced poultry and game. The menu offers plenty of inventive small plates (alongside house-baked bread), an impressive list of Mid-Atlantic oyster options, and a variety of wood-fired pizzas. The meat-centric entrées like rotisserie pork shoulder topped with apple cider-mustard reduction are inventive (and tasty), and the expertly curated wine list is designed carefully around Range's staple menu items -- while the space is clean and minimal, the cuisine is nothing if not complex.

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6. Co Co. Sala 929 F st. NW, Washington, DC 20004 (Penn Quarter)

Co Co. Sala's upscale eatery in Penn Quarter is all about chocolate, whether it's in the form of hand-made candies, cocktails, or other desserts (they even expanded the restaurant to include a full-service chocolate boutique). They even mange to work it into some of their Italian-American fare like mac & cheese with chocolate-covered bacon and crispy buffalo chicken sliders with chocolate nib buns. Where its penchant for decadence really shows, however, is in its stone and gold interior.

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7. Founding Farmers 1924 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20006 (Foggy Bottom)

This spot was doing farm-to-table before it was even cool; enjoy your tasty, sustainable, family-farmed eats in a LEED-certified setting that's as green as the food.

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8. Stoney's On L 2101 L St NW, Ste. 103, Washington, DC 20037 (K Street)

This place has been feeding DC some of the city's best burgers, brews, grilled cheese, and mac and cheese since '68. They've got this pleasing people with awesome food thing down pat.



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