I know I’m not alone when I say this: the ultimate go-to comfort food is macaroni and cheese. Hands down. I’d even argue Ann Arbor serves up one of the most substantial mac selections in the state. Want proof? I ran all over town reviewing favorite mac and cheese dishes on local menus, and stacked them up side-by-side. The only issue was choosing a favorite.

Blue Tractor’s Triple Mac and Cheese:
A super creamy and flavorful blend of smoked cheddar, Gouda and Wisconsin aged cheddar cheeses, topped with golden breadcrumbs and crispy onions to create a delicate, yet perfectly crunchy crust. Definitely a classic option that will have you licking the plate clean. (Guilty.)

mac and cheese

Blue Tractor’s mac. Photo by Annie Madole

Sava’s Mac & Cheese:
A modern version of the classic, with a little twist. Made with a delicate combination of smoked Gouda, aged cheddar, Parmesan and béchamel sauce, all combined with pieces of crisped bacon to add an intense, smoky kick. Flavors are second to none — rich and crave-worthy.

mac and cheese

Sava’s. Photo by Annie Madole

Noodles & Co’s Wisconsin Mac & Cheese:
An easy (and surprisingly delicious) way to satisfy your impulsive mac-and-cheese need, with a blend of cheeses and fresh cream served over tender elbow macaroni. Gluten free? Substitute the macaroni for GF fusilli noodles and you’re covered. This is the ultimate way to grab your comfort food quickly.

mac and cheese

Noodles’. Photo by Annie Madole

Zingerman’s Roadhouse’s Mac & Cheese:
Featured on Food Network’s “America’s Best: Top 10 Comfort Foods” for best macaroni and cheese and then some. There are several different variations of the classic offered, and each one is irresistible. My suggestion is to go for the Macaroni & 3 Peppercorn Goat Cheese, but the basic “Roadhouse Mac” — smothered in creamy béchamel and gooey caramelized Cabot cheddar — is a winner, too. Any way you go, Zingerman’s version of the dish offers amazing texture and a one-of-a-kind blend of flavors. Basically, it’s the definition of mac-and-cheese heaven.

mac and cheese

Zingerman’s Roadhouse. Photo by Annie Madole

Pizza House’s Mac and Cheese:
One of this pizza joint’s hidden gems features baked macaroni in a silky cheese sauce topped with both cheddar and mozzarella. You can even make it “deluxe” with added ground beef, fresh mushrooms and onions. This mac is super-creamy and topped with a thick layer of melted cheese. It’s not really meant for the sophisticated palate, but when in need for a good “late night” eat, this is a solid choice. Who needs cheesy bread anyway?

mac and cheese

Pizza House. Photo by Annie Madole

WINNER: It was a hard call to make, but everyone must check out Zingerman’s version of mac ‘n cheese. Mmmmmmmmm.