By Brittany Anas / NewsBreak Denver
(Denver, Colo) Put aside preconceived notions that mac and cheese is just a kid’s meal. The ooey-gooey comfort dish earned itself a spot at the grown-up table. Several chefs across the Denver metro area now put a gourmet spin on the classic, adding everything from lobster to IPA to the pasta.
Cheesy as it may be, today is “National Mac and Cheese Day,” something that Broomfield-based Noodles & Company brought to our attention.
The fast-casual chain says its Wisconsin Mac & Cheese has been its best-selling menu item since Noodles & Company opened 27 years ago. Across its more than 450 locations, the chain dishes out 13 million bowls of the elbow mac that’s covered in a cheese sauce and topped with cheddar and jack cheese.
Beyond the classic, Noodles & Company also has a buffalo chicken mac and a barbecue chicken mac.
Craving the comfort classic? Here’s six more spots in and around Denver that make a mean mac n’ cheese.
Bacon lovers, this one’s for you. A special this July, the ‘Merica Burger at Slater’s 50/50 is an over-the-top bacon loaded burger with two patties. It’s topped with bacon mac and cheese and bacon coleslaw. It’s also smothered in a bacon dressing and comes with an andouille sausage link grilled and dipped in Frank’s red hot sauce. In addition to mac and cheese as a burger topping, the sports bar serves house-made bacon mac and cheese balls that are breaded in panko and served along with Tapatio ranch for dipping. (3600 Blake St. in Denver)
Hops & Pie
Hops & Pie's IPA mac and cheese has remained one of the top-selling menu items for years. The pizza shop puts a Colorado spin on its well-spiced mac n’ cheese by calling in a West Coast-style IPA to add some complexity. Hops & Pie uses beer from Ska Brewing, which is located in Durango. To perfect the mac, they also incorporate braised ham hock, chopped bacon and bread crumbs. (3920 Tennyson St. in Denver)
Work & Class
Move over cheddar. At Work & Class, James Beard recognized chef Dana Rodriguez prefers a smoked gouda for her decadent mac n’ cheese on the menu along with other inventive sides like brussels sprouts with pear and chickpea croquettes. (2500 Larimer St. in Denver)
Roasted green chili mac and cheese gets a gourmet upgrade with four ounces of lobster claw and knuckle meat at The Fort, a western restaurant that’s close to Red Rocks amphitheater and known for its game meats. The gruyere mac n’ cheese is so hot it comes out bubbling ina cast-iron pot. (19192 CO-8 in Morrison)
Pair smoked meats with a creamy mac n’ cheese at Smok, a barbecue restaurant inside The Source. Chef Bill Espiricueta makes his mac with a roux base and uses a combination of Provolone, Monterey Jack and white cheddar that’s then topped with black pepper. (3330 Brighton Blvd. No. 202 in Denver)
The Mac Shack
The Mac Shack’s stall in the Edgewater Public Market has an entire menu dedicated to mac and cheese. Options include smoked gouda, lobster, short rib, sriracha chicken and bacon macs and more. Mac and cheese lovers can also use their own creativity with add-ons like diced green chilis and sous vide pork belly. (5505 W 20th Ave. No 114 in Edgewater)