The nights are getting longer, and the temperature is getting colder. Now is the time for cozy evenings by the fireplace and periodically clicking “Yes, I’m still watching” on Netflix. Lean into your comfort food cravings and indulge in a hearty portion of gooey mac and cheese. After all, it is 2020, also known as “the year carbs don’t count.”  

Forego the blue and yellow box and #TreatYoSelf to the cheesiest, creamiest goodness that Greater Des Moines restaurants have to offer.  As submitted by our mac and cheese connoisseurs by way of a social media survey, here are the top spots to get your fix, listed alphabetically: 

801 Chophouse - Revel in buttery, cheesy luxury with the Lobster Macaroni and Cheese at 801 Chophouse. As the city’s premier steakhouse, trust that they cut no corners on this carb creation. Your pasta comes drenched in cheddar, parmesan, and Mornay sauce and stuffed with luscious chunks of Maine lobster. Remember how we said #TreatYoSelf? 

Americana – Serving up delicious eats, drinks, and (multi)million-dollar views of the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, Americana skimps on no details. And the Truffled mac and cheese is no exception. Visit for dinner after work, carb-up after indulging in a few libations, or catch Saturday morning brunch where you can enjoy a scoop (or two, or three...) of Americana’s mac and cheese from their famous bombshell brunch buffet.  

Barntown – The masterful brewers at Barntown Brewery know how to craft the perfect sour AND the perfect mac! Using the ideal cheese-gripping vessel that is the Radiatori noddle, Barntown expertly marries Boursin and cheddar cheeses. Top your sinful selection with a fried egg, roasted brussels sprouts, or house-made chorizo.  

Bubba - Known for stick-to-your-ribs Southern comforts, Bubba serves up an unforgettable pimento Mac & Cheese featuring house-made pimento cheese sauce and topped with toasted breadcrumbs and white cheddar cheese. Go whole hog by adding on Cajun crawfish or shrimp.  

Cheese Bar – The second establishment developed by the cheesemongers of Des Moines’ famed The Cheese Shop (named America’s Favorite Cheese Shop), Cheese Bar delivers a delectable mac and cheese experience. Your dish is served bubbling in a cast-iron skillet, and you can choose to add optional modifiers such as fig jam, Berkwood bacon, or caramelized onions.  

Exile Brewing Company – Feeling famished? The Mac and Cheese at Exile might very well fill you up with more leftover for lunch tomorrow! The generous portion comes overflowing with four kinds of cheese and toasted to perfection with golden breadcrumbs, smoked paprika, and savory herbs. Wash it down with a flight of some of the most popular beers in town.  

Gateway Market & Café - Grab a cozy, hot meal for lunch or an easy to-go dinner at Gateway Market & Café housed in a trendy urban grocery store. Pick your homestyle entrée from the case, and don’t you dare pass up on the mac and cheese as one (or both!) of your side dishes.  

Jethro’s Lakehouse Ankeny - Made famous on countless TV shows, Jethro’s knows how to please a crowd. At most locations around the metro, you can order a side of mac and cheese with your barbeque, or at the Jethro’s Lakehouse location in Ankeny, feast on the Smoke House Mac-a-noodle and cheese. This hefty dish features four kinds of cheeses, hickory-smoked bacon, and cherrywood smoked ham.  

Unrvld Barbeque Bar - Simple but done right. That’s what you can expect from Greater Des Moines’ newest buzzy barbeque joint. The proprietor hails from Texas, where they know a thing or two about barbeque, and there’s no better side to accompany smoked brisket than classic, golden mac and cheese. Once again, proving that BBQ goes with mac and cheese like peanut butter and jelly.