Mac and Cheese in JXN

Mac and cheese is among the most popular comfort foods in the Deep South.

The Manship. Image: The Manship

In 1802, Thomas Jefferson supposedly served the dish in the White House, as it was referred to as “a pie of macaroni.” Kraft introduced its boxed version in 1937, but Italians, as you might guess, have been combining pasta and cheese for centuries. If you want to stir the pot (no pun intended), ask your friends which Jackson restaurant makes the best mac ‘n’ cheese dish.

The Manship - 1200 N State St.

Most culinary and cheese experts agree that Parmigiano-Reggiano is the king of all cheeses, but why don’t more restaurants use this cheese in making their mac and cheese? It’s a good question, and there’s one place that answers: The Manship.

To prepare their house-made cream sauce, The Manship uses the hardened rinds from Parmigiano-Reggiano, a common practice in making an Italian style red sauce. But they steep the rinds in cream to create an amazingly rich Parmigiano-Reggiano sauce, and that, of course, is the base for their otherworldly mac and cheese.

Save the rinds from the Parmesan you use at home and simmer them in cream to give this recipe a try.

The Pig & Pint

The Pig & Pint - 3139 N State St.

The Pig & Pint has a creative and innovative menu with items such as fried green tomato tacos - complete with bacon, comeback coleslaw and BBQ sauce or even their pork belly corn dogs.

But the smoked mac and cheese, as simple as it might sound, is too good to pass up.

Only a restaurant known for their delectable pulled pork, slow cooked brisket and smoked chicken could come up with a house-smoked mac and cheese. The secret may lie in the white cheddar cheese and the poblano peppers that balance each other out, but it’s the smokiness paired with the decadent, creamy sauce that does the trick.


Drago’s Seafood Restaurant - 1005 E County Line Rd.

Drago’s is a New Orleans-based restaurant, famous for its Creole and Cajun offerings and generous portions. House dishes include signature items such as red beans and rice with shrimp creole.

However, the restaurant is well known for their seafood, specifically lobster. So, it seems a natural step to combine mac and cheese with lobster, doesn’t it? Well, maybe not for most of us home cooks who tend to play it safe, but it made sense to the folks at Drago’s. It is one of the most popular items on the menu, featuring large chunks of Maine lobster, pasta soaked in a creamy cheddar cheese sauce and topped with garlic and herb breadcrumbs. How can you go wrong?

Other Jackson standouts include Godfrey’s, Wellington’s at the Hilton, Bully’s Soul Food and Sugar’s Place downtown, who describes their mac and cheese as, “wonderful, homemade like momma’s.”

Julian Brunt


Julian Brunt

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