One day. Two teenage girls. Eight mac and cheeses. These sentences summarize a casual Saturday last year when a friend and I traveled around Houston, TX in order to determine where the best mac and cheese was. We called ourselves the 'Macdaddies,' and our mission: The Houston Mac and Cheese Hunt. 

Now, we came prepared for our mac and cheese journey. Along with a schedule, we made score cards for each restaurant, grading the mac and cheese on 5 factors: Cheesiness, Portion Size, Artisan Qualities, Restaurant Atmosphere, and Overall Experience. A restaurant could get a maximum score of 25, and from there we determined which mac and cheese in Houston is the best. Here are our findings. 

Liberty Kitchen

Liberty Kitchen, our first restaurant of the day, blew us away with their mac and cheese. It was rich, creamy, and had a unique pasta — shells. The shells trapped the creamy cheese inside of them, which we really enjoyed. The atmosphere of the restaurant was trendy, yet calm, and the portion size was enough for the two of us. As a bonus, the restaurant gave us the mac for free. 

Liberty Kitchen: 22/25

Ruggles Green

Ruggle's Green was our healthier option of the day because their mac and cheese was made from quinoa. We enjoyed the quiet restaurant because it was perfect for snacking. It had a creamy cheese sauce (with an Instagram-worthy cheese-pull included), but the quinoa noodle texture strayed too far away from classic for us. 

Ruggle's Green: 15/25

Barnaby's Cafe

Barnaby's, a Houston favorite for the both of us, had a delectable mac and cheese appetizer for us to try. With a mixture of many cheeses, breadcrumb topping, and twirly cavatappi noodles, Barnaby's gave us a good blend of "different," yet still classic. Although we adore the restaurant and its fun vibes, the mac and cheese did not live up to our expectations. 

Barnaby's Cafe: 16/25

MAX's Wine Dive

Max's Wine Dive is a cool, dark, trendy spot in Houston's midtown area. Since my fellow mac connoisseur and I are underage, we opted for the classic mac and cheese instead of a glass of wine. The mac and cheese at Max's Wine Dive had cavatappi noodles in a truffle cream sauce, which was amazing. We really enjoyed the vibes of the restaurant and the mac and cheese, but the experience overall did not really have a "wow factor."

Max's Wine Dive: 17/25

Jus' Mac

Jus' Mac is the classic spot for mac and cheese in the Houston area. With a menu consisting of pretty much "jus mac," this restaurant could not disappoint. We ordered the classic mac and we loved the filling portion sizes and cheesiness. This mac and cheese was perfectly cheesy and truly tasted like a classic. 

Jus' Mac: 20/25

Pappa's BBQ

Pappa's BBQ was the "outsider" of our chosen restaurants. A local barbecue spot with a few locations around town, it definitely differed from the trendier spots we had chosen. The mac and cheese here was very yellow. Was this a bad thing? Not necessarily. In our opinion, it highlighted the creamy cheese that the shells were drenched in. While it tasted delicious, the vibe of the restaurant was not our favorite, and the mac and cheese had an artificial taste. 

Pappa's BBQ: 13/25

Urban Eats

Alas, our last spot of the "Macdaddy's" hunt. By the time we reached the uber-trendy Urban Eats, our bellies were full, but we were determined to properly judge our last dish. This mac and cheese was truly unique, with spicier flavors that expected. The cheesiness factor was ever-so-present and the breadcrumbs on top gave it some nice texture. Overall, though, my sensitive tongue wasn't as fond of the spice as others might be.

Urban Eats: 19/25

The Houston Mac and Cheese Hunt was truly a dream come true. There really is no better way to spend a day than to eat seven mac and cheese dishes at seven different restaurants. If that's not for you though, feel free to refer to this as a guide to the best mac and cheeses in Houston.