Food & Drink

Macaroni madness: Locals recommend the best mac ‘n’ cheese in Manatee County

Whether you like it plain or fancy, there are a lot of great options for mac and cheese in Bradenton.
Whether you like it plain or fancy, there are a lot of great options for mac and cheese in Bradenton. MCT

Macaroni and cheese is a near perfect dish. It’s nostalgic. It’s a side and a main course. It can be beautifully simple or elevated for fine dining.

The mere mention of it probably made you want some.

Never fear; we asked members of the Bradenton Herald Facebook group Manatee Eats where to get the best macaroni and cheese in Manatee County.

Here’s where they recommend:

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At O’bricks Irish Pub & Martini Bar, the mac and cheese comes with golden Gouda and hearty chunks of lobster. O'bricks Irish Pub & Martini Bar

O’bricks Irish Pub and Martini Bar

O’bricks is the place to go when you’re craving something more than out-of-the-box mac and cheese. O’bricks Lobster Mac-n-Cheese is boldly served as an entree on “The Comfort-able Side” portion of the restaurant’s menu. The dish is prepared with elbow macaroni, smoked Gouda cheese, hearty chucks of lobster and fresh herbs, all baked with a Parmesan bread crumb crust. It runs a little on the pricey side at $14, but it’s a big helping that’s sure to leave you satiated.

O’bricks Irish Pub and Martini Bar is at 427 12th St. W., Bradenton.

Mission BBQ is a chain that serves barbecue and home-style eats in restaurants adorned with patriotic memorabilia. Herald File Photo

Mission BBQ

Mission BBQ, the restaurant chain that got its start in Glen Burnie, Md., has two themes: good barbeque and patriotism. As it turns out, people think that the mac and cheese is pretty good too. Maggie’s Mac-N-Cheese is the first item on the restaurant’s list of made-from-scratch sides. You can order a small serving for around $2, a pint for $7 or a quart for $10.

Mission BBQ is at 4501 14th St. W., Bradenton.

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The Waterfront Restaurant in Anna Maria gets rave reviews for its truffled Gouda mac and cheese. The Waterfront Restaurant

The Waterfront Restaurant

The Waterfront Restaurant on Anna Maria Island offers an extravagant take on mac and cheese. Elbow macaroni is served in a creamy sauce of Holland Gouda and French truffles baked with crispy breadcrumbs. The mac is served as an entree on the restaurant’s lunch menu ($10), and it can be upgraded with an addition of blue crab ($7), barbecue pork ($4) or bacon bits ($4). On the dinner menu, it’s available a la carte ($8).

The Waterfront Restaurant is at 111 S. Bay Blvd., Anna Maria.

Other recommendations:

Oak & Stone, 5405 University Pkwy #101, University Park.

The Lazy Lobster, 5350 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key.

Wawa convenience stores, multiple locations.

Newk’s Eatery, 5405 University Pkwy #110, Bradenton.

Swordfish Grill and Tiki Bar, 4628 119th St. W., Cortez.

Longhorn Steakhouse, 4502 14th St. W., Bradenton.

Panera Bread, 1520 Cortez Road W. Bradenton.

Lil’ Nancy’s Bar-B-Q, 8141 Lakewood Main St. #104, Lakewood Ranch.

Cracker Barrel, 2203 Cortez Rd. W., Bradenton.

Shake Station, 4219 US-301, Ellenton.

Not a member of Manatee Eats? Join the group today to get in on the local food and drink discussion.

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