Review: Three Restaurants in the Fox Cities that Serve Quality Mac ‘n’ Cheese


Photo by: Anna Jamroz

Mac ‘n’ cheese from MACS Macaroni and Cheese Shop

Anna Jamroz, Student of Journalism

The food that started as a household side dish — mac ‘n’ cheese — had turned into a restaurant classic as society diverged into food exploration. Popularity rose when Kraft first introduced its delectable boxed dinner in 1937. This changed the way families across the country made dinner. A quick 15-minute meal made grab-and-go lunches more obtainable and meticulous. Now there are Instagram posts and spontaneous additions to this delightful dish. Mac ‘n’ cheese has evolved. As consumers, finding mac ‘n’ cheese at almost every restaurant is normal. Mainly on the kids menu, but is also welcomed as a side dish to an entree available for teens and adults. Mac ‘n’ cheese has matured in the food industry and its continued growth is found right here in the Fox Cities.

I went on a quest to determine, in the Valley, which restaurant serves the most satisfying classic comfort food — mac ‘n’ cheese.

Noodles and Company 

Wisconsin Mac & Cheese – Regular $6.75

Walking into Noodles and Company I was not surprised with what I saw. The restaurant is a common ground for family dinners, a date with an old friend and a kids favorite place — when they get the chance to order a kids’ meal. The restaurant has its fair share of goey messes on the table and floor, but the restaurant still provides its customers with a warm and inviting environment where noodle dishes excel.

The menu varied diversely:  from different shaped noodles with various flavors that had potential to burst every taste bud to the modest mac ‘n’ cheese. Assorted flavors of mac ‘n’ cheese were also available at Noodles and Company, which raised its versatility as a restaurant.  

The cheddar and jack cheeses sunk into my mouth. The noodles were harder than the other restaurants but still held uniqueness as the flavors were varied. If adventure excites customers, Noodles and Company offers the ability to add additional food items to the mac ‘n’ cheese: shrimp, grilled chicken breast, marinated steak and much more. 

Because of the available options for mac ‘n’ cheese at Noodles and Company, not only is it a perfect meal on a budget but also when looking for a quick grab-and-go lunch or dinner. 

Out of five stars: 3/5


MACS Macaroni and Cheese Shop 

Original MAC – Regular $7.99

The environment at MACS Macaroni and Cheese Shop is warm and inviting. The store offers comfy chairs that engage in the mac ‘n’ cheese theme. The restaurant is sophisticated with designs that entice interior designers. 

When ordering, there was a menu full of possibilities. From the plain jane, original mac ‘n’ cheese, all the way to the customers favorite, “Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac ‘n’ Cheese,” said an employee at MACS.

When I ordered, however, I could only stomach the original MAC. Devouring this dish, I was left wanting more. The crusted-over cheese glaze was burnt to perfection as it acted as a covering on the mac ‘n’ cheese. I stabbed my fork into the dish and broke the seal of the crispy cheese. This revealed noodles dunked in creamy cheddar cheese as each of the flavors combined in my mouth. The price is reasonable seeing as the mac ‘n’ cheese I was presented with checks every box, in regards to mac ‘n’ cheese requirements. 

The ability to order varied dishes — still concerning mac ‘n’ cheese — is enticing and what sets MACS Macaroni and Cheese Shop above other restaurants.  

Out of five stars: 4/5


Zuppas Café and Catering 

Mac ‘n’ Cheese – Regular $8.95

The atmosphere at Zuppas is cordial and welcoming. The restaurant is, “Friendly and family-like,” said a Zuppas employee and student at NHS (senior), Sydney Borchardt. The tables and chairs are nothing unique, but offer the perfect spot for a team meeting, a lunch date, or even grabbing a quick snack. 

The menu offers many options for their consumers; from paninis to salads to their comforting mac ‘n’ cheese — there are so many possibilities. 

I ordered the regular mac ‘n’ cheese and was pleased. I was delighted to find out that I could order the dish as a side or full entree. I was offered the chance to add mozzarella to the top of the mac ‘n’ cheese — which I would highly recommend. The elbow noodles dunked in cheddar and mozzarella cheese melted in my mouth with every bite. The flavor of the mixed cheeses bursted in my mouth and I could pick out each ingredient as I chomped on each noodle. I could tell the mac ‘n’ cheese was freshly made that day, making the mac ‘n’ cheese worth every penny. 

With the large diversity of meals and dishes at Zuppas, everyone can find a delectable meal. If searching, however, for mac ‘n’ cheese, sadly customers only have one choice of flavors but will be entertained with the original mac ‘n’ cheese Zuppas has to offer. 

Out of five stars: 5/5

Considering each pro and con of each restaurant I have deliberated and made a consensus. Zuppas Café and Catering has provided me with the most exceptional mac ‘n’ cheese. Although both Noodles and Company and MACS Macaroni and Cheese Shop presented me with confounding mac ‘n’ cheeses to devour and review, I believe Zuppas has excelled more than the competing restaurants because of its overall environment, price to quality ratio and menu diversity. From the squishy noodles to the creamy cheese and the parmesan addition, my taste buds have chosen the clear winner. Although the price is steep, when ordered, what consumers get is well worth the price — satisfaction! 

When searching for the best mac ‘n’ cheese in a current location, it is important to look at all the options. A quick Yelp review or Instagram search for the mouthwatering comfort food could lead to a kingdom of mac ‘n’ cheese. But in the meantime, looking at restaurants right here in the Fox Cities can provide endless options of the creamy noodle-filled meal.