STORY: Jennifer Bradley Franklin | PHOTOS: Sara Hanna
A favorite year-round, macaroni and cheese feels particularly appropriate now that there’s a chill infusing Atlanta’s air. We scoured our neighborhood’s restaurants and picked a few favorite noodle- and cheese-laden dishes to share.
Lobster Mac and Cheese ($18) Chef Drew Van Leuvan’s version folds buttery, rich lobster into his macaroni, upping the luxury quotient of this dish. He keeps it interesting with African squash and dried chorizo, as well as decadent Gruyère and mascarpone cheeses. It’s large enough to share a good plan because of its richness.
3400 Around Lenox Road Atlanta 30326
Pimento Mac and Cheese ($7) This tasty dish is (almost) all about the South. Chef David Gross takes salty rose- mary Virginia ham, sharp yellow ched- dar and fresh corkscrew pasta, and adds in bright red pimentos and tart Italian Cerignola olives to create a dish that’s balanced and flavorful. It’s topped with panko before being heated and crisped in the oven.
3377 Peachtree Road N.E. Atlanta 30326
Pig’s Tail Mac and Cheese ($3) Vegetarians rejoice! This deceptively named dish contains no meat. In fact, its cute moniker comes from the curly cavatappi pasta that holds the savory, viscous cheese sauce. Made with milk, heavy cream, allspice, yellow American cheese, a bit of cream cheese and cheddar cheese, it’s topped with the restaurant’s piquant secret dry rub spice blend. Meat eaters can order it alongside Smokebelly’s fall off the bone baby back ribs.
128 East Andrews Drive N.W. Atlanta 30305
Chops Lobster Bar:
Creamy Curly Mac and Smoked Gouda ($9.50) Perhaps the richest of the macaroni and cheeses we tried, Chef Ryan Delesandro’s version goes perfectly with one of Chops’ cooked to order aged steaks. The curved shape of serpentini pasta is just right to cradle the impossibly creamy cheese sauce, made with white cheddar and smoked Gouda. It’s topped with Parmesan cheese and just a bit of parsley.
70 West Paces Ferry Road Atlanta 30305
White Cheddar, Manchego and Panko Mac and Cheese ($7) This crunchy topped mac and cheese makes it easy to say “yes” (no surprise— yebo is South African slang for the affirmative). Served in a cast iron skillet and big enough to share if you’re feeling generous the dish is made with Vermont white cheddar and nutty Manchego folded into luscious béchamel cream sauce and pasta, topped with feather light panko crumbs. The crunch is just the right complement to the creamy, soft macaroni.
3500 Peachtree Road N.E. Atlanta 30326