The 8 Best Mac & Cheeses In Cincinnati


There’s something all too nostalgic about eating a nice bowl of Mac & Cheese. It takes us back to a simpler time. Whether it was the consistent bowls of Easymac in college or the only savior from that terrible Salsbury Steak throughout our school days, Mac & Cheese has always been there for us. We found comfort in spooning in spoonful after spoonful of its cheesy goodness. Those days may be long gone now, but who doesn’t still love a good bowl of the Mac? No one. That’s why we went around to find the best in the city. Cincinnati, these are the best Macs you’ll find…

1. The B.B. King – Keystone

Keystone earned their reputation for having the best damn Mac & Cheese for a reason: they have options. Oh, and it’s delicious. Featuring nine different types, one may be able to call this place the “Mac Daddy” of the city. When we went in, their Assistant Manager, Pete, knew exactly what to give us in our quest for the best Mac & Cheese in the city. That’s when we got to meet the B.B. King, and, ooooh weeee, it was filled with the same amount of soul as the man it was named after.

The Best Pairing:

While there are a lot of options for pairings at Keystone, there’s nothing better than a mound of their Saratoga Chips, completed with their own house-made BBQ sauce. Combine that with the hoppy goodness of a Bells Two-Hearted Ale, and you’ll be one happy camper.


The Verdict:

BBQ, Bacon, and Mac & Cheese all mixed together into one bowl? Yes. Just Yes. This is a long way from the Mac from days long past, but its complexity is something to be admired. We found out that they use five cheeses in their blend, and it’s easily one of the best things we’ve ever tasted. Now we’re wondering how creative they’ll continue to get as they introduce new variations as they move along. Whatever comes next, we can’t wait to be there to try it.

2. The Mac & Cheese – M Wood Fired Oven

Word on the street was that a long-time favorite chef had returned to the city to appease the crowds awaiting his return. As soon as we talked to him, we could feel his passion for cooking in every word. He confessed that, although he knew how to make plenty of other gourmet foods, he holds a special place in his heart for his favorite comfort food: Mac & Cheese. He took the time to make it perfectly, and we were drooling before we even got a taste. With the embers crackling in the background; it was a beautiful sight to behold.

The Best Pairing: 

If he had his way, Patrick would enjoy his Mac & Cheese with fried chicken and collard greens (keep a look out for Ash next door), but, for the time being, he said it was best enjoyed with nothing more than a PBR on draft. That’s it. After trying it, we have to agree.


The Verdict: 

Braised Short Rib to top off our already delicious, gooey Mac & Cheese? Oh yeah. You may feel like you’ve eaten a whole meal after enjoying the last few bites of it, but that’s just because it answers all of the longing growls from the pit of your stomach. Oh, and you know it’s legit if the people have been craving it since their beloved chef left years ago. Cincinnati, it was worth the wait.

3. The Truffle Mac – Brewriver Gastropub

You wanted some beer with that Truffle Mac? How does a consistent rotation of around twenty beers on tap work for you? At Brewriver, you’ll get just that. As the Sous Chef, Brad, carried over his delicious work of art, we knew that we were about to have something amazing. He knew the ins and outs of everything on the menu, and loved talking about his favorites. There’s nothing better than knowing that a lot of pride is going into your food.

The Best Pairing:

We all know that the right burger can make pretty much everything better, but one stands above the rest in the pairings at Brewriver: The Natchez. Stacked high with a load of deep-fried onion rings, it pulls out all the best accents of the Truffle Mac. You can go with any of there beers as well, but we think their Cherry Wheat goes best with this. Just get it while it lasts, because they go through beer pretty quickly!


The Verdict:

There are a lot of people trying to perfect Truffle Mac these days, but few leave us feeling as satiated as Brewriver did. The three cheeses, alongside the truffles, and slight onion accents was unbelievable. You have to eat it at night, when they have their patio lit up, to enjoy it to its fullest extent. Regardless of the time of day, though, this is some kick ass Truffle Mac.

4. The Mac & Chee – Tom & Chee

So, you’ve decided to throw some Mac & Cheese on one of your grilled cheese sandwiched, Tom & Chee…? Well, we love you for it. There’s something about combining two of our childhood favorites that takes us to a better place, if only for a few minutes of our busy day. It may sound a little odd at first, but you won’t be disappointed. It’s wonderful.

The Best Pairing:

The obvious answer here is their Creamy Tomato Soup. There’s no better way to enjoy any of their grilled cheeses than by dipping it into the soup. This is especially true on a chilly, rainy day. It just seems to warm the soul.


The Verdict: 

Is there anything that Tom & Chee makes that isn’t delicious? The fact that we even felt weird about Mac & Cheese on a grilled cheese sandwich was preposterous. They blend all off the ends off of the cheeses from their other sandwiches and melt them into the Mac before it even goes on the sandwich, and they combine to make a masterpiece. Don’t believe us? You’re missing out.


5. The Lobster Mac – Senate Restaurant

Everyone knows about their delicious, gourmet hot dogs, but there’s another gem hidden inside their menu. While a lot of people go for the truffle fries -we can’t blame you, they’re delicious- you’re selling yourself short if you haven’t taken the time to try their Lobster Mac. A lot of love goes in there, and the sight of it alone will give you a sense of just how amazing it tastes.

The Best Pairing:

Jeremy, their chef, was adamant about making sure we knew that a combination with their Lobster BLT was easily the best pairing with the lobster mac. After all, the lobster claw meat goes into the Mac, so why not add the tail on by getting the sandwich. Oh, and make sure you get the Apricot Wheat Beer with the meal. It’s so refreshing on a summer day.


The Verdict:

We couldn’t believe with the amount of lobster they hook you up with in their Mac for the price you pay! It was overflowing with lobster meat, and the combo of cheesy, buttery Mac and salty lobster had us in a state of pure bliss. It’s definitely one of those Macs for those who have a taste for the finer things in life, but don’t want to pay an outrageous price.

6. The Mac & Cheese – The Eagle

How good is this Mac & Cheese? So good that they keep the recipe a complete secret. All we know is the obvious: it’s got macaroni, a lot of different cheeses go in it, and that they decorate it with breadcrumbs that add something unique to the mix. There’s no denying the fact that people love it, though. It was on every table we passed as we walked through.

The Best Pairing: 

For some reason, this secret-recipe Mac seemed to pair best with an IPA. Our choice was the Hipster Repellent, but that’s up to personal preference. Oh, and don’t forget to chow down on some of their delicious Southern-style fried chicken, too. It’s probably the best in the city.


The Verdict: 

We may never know exactly what makes it so good, but there’s no denying the fact that they’ve got Mac & Cheese down to a science. The crunchy, garlicy bread crumbs that cascaded off off of the top was just what the doctor ordered to complement the rest of its accents. If you want some soul food, but don’t want to leave the heart of the city to do so, this is the spot for you.

7. Mac & Cheese – Eli’s BBQ

Remember school lunch back in elementary school? The creepy lunch lady may have turned us off from her cooking with extra sloppy, Sloppy Joes, but we could always find solace in her wonderful home-made Mac & Cheese. That’s the exact nostalgia that Eli’s wanted to create with their Mac. It’s all about simplicity with these guys, and we loved every bit of it.

The Best Pairing:

Well, Eli’s is BYOB, if you were wondering. Yes, it is, in fact, the greatest thing ever. If you’re not looking to bring some beer, though, you can never go wrong with a refreshing Ale-8 and their Pulled Pork Sandwich. It’s the perfect backyard barbecue combo for those that aren’t in the mood to cook.


The Verdict:

If you’re looking for simplicity, and don’t like all of the huss and fuss in trying to outdo other places for a unique Mac & Cheese experience, you can definitely take a walk down memory lane with a bowl of Eli’s Mac. It’s cheap, you can bring your own beer to drink with it, and the atmosphere is great on a weekend night. We may be long past the days of our youth, but sometimes it’s good to feel like a kid again.

8. Mac & Cheese – BBQ Review

BBQ review has been in the business quite awhile for the simple fact that they have some amazing, smoky racks of ribs for people to enjoy. What often goes unnoticed, however, are their amazing side-dishes, which perfectly complement their BBQ. They don’t try to be fancy, but, instead, try to infuse Southern hospitality into every little thing that they make. It was obvious when their manager, Joanna, greeted us with: “What can we do for you, honey?”

The Best Pairing:

Oh, baby, those short ribs… we don’t know how they got them to be so much better than what we make at home, but there’s no better way to enjoy the Mac & Cheese than with some BBQ and their Southern-style Sweet Tea. It’s the best way to enjoy comfort food.


The Verdict:

This baked Mac & Cheese reminded us of all of our family reunions and holiday gatherings. They use onions in their mix, which was pretty unexpected for us, but it ended up being pleasant as we had no problem wolfing down a huge bowl, even after a full day filled with plenty off other Macs. You have to love simplicity.

Every one of these places served up their Mac & Cheese in a way that was different than the others, so there’s really no way to pick one over the other, but every one was good enough for us to want to come back for more. Who knew that you could do so much with Mac & Cheese?