Tournament of Mac and Cheese: It's Cheesy 16 time!

By Ron Swarner on March 31, 2015


For the last two weeks I presented you with a compelling question: Who makes the best mac and cheese in the South Sound? And you have responded in droves. Sick days have been used. Friendships have fallen apart. Pasta delivery boys and cheese delivery girls are now living together - mass hysteria!

The competition has been whittled down to the Cheesy 16. Yes, 16 South Sound mac and cheese slingers are poised to make the final push to the Final Four, which will go down Friday.

So, read up on yesterday's action, and then vote on the first four games of the Cheesy 16. It's in your hands, mouth and stomach, folks!

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: Eleven Eleven (1111 S. 11th St., Tacoma) vs. Smoke + Cedar (2013 S. Cedar St., Tacoma)

Fans of This Is Spinal Tap will understand why Justin and Rob Peterson had to go Nigel Tufnel on Smoke + Cedar yesterday. The brothers had to follow the lead of the lame-brained rocker who had his amp's knobs specially made to go to 11, ostensibly giving him more sonic power than the ordinary scrubs whose volume maxed out at 10. The joke still works, even if today's music fans don't listen to devices with old-school knobs. Smoke + Cedar scores a 10 with owner Gordon Naccarato's version of the Augusta National pimento cheese recipe, spackled with panko, crumbled  "Ritzy" fire cracker crumbs and served in hot skillet. Yeah, I know. Amazing. The Eleven Eleven had to take their creamy, cavenetti mac and American/cheddar cheese concoction to an 11 to pull out a win, which they did. With 64 percent of the vote, the Hilltop Tacoma joint moves into the Cheesy 16 and Tacoma lore.

Game 2: Metropolitan Market (2420 N. Proctor St., Tacoma) vs. Rosewood Café (3323 N. 26th St., Tacoma)

The Prizefight for Proctor has past. The people are back in their homes watching their giant flat-screen TV that rise up out of the bedroom floor. The proper Proctor mac and cheese has been picked. The skirmish between Met Market and Rosewood Café was tight, in fact the tightest of the day. And, the quaint, little guy with the awesome mac and cheese prevailed. The Rosewood Café grabbed 56 percent of the vote and sent Met Market packing ... in paper or plastic.

Game 3: King Solomon's Reef (212 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia) vs. Mac N More (9323 Martin Way E., Lacey)

Mac N More knew this is a tournament, not a playoff. They knew this match was do or die - one misstep and they would be out of the dance. Leave the macaroni in the pot too long, forget to add the blue cheese to the "Buffalo" mac and cheese, and they can pack their pasta ladle and go home. Mac N More is a mac and cheese joint. Hell, "Mac" is part of their name. They have a huge following, which they proved yesterday. With 87 percent of the vote over King Solomon's Reef, Mac N More moves into the Cheesy 16.

Game 4: Maxwell's Restaurant & Lounge (454 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma) vs. H.G. Bistro (1618 E. Main Ave., Puyallup)

H.G. Bistro's goose is cooked. Yes, the downtown Puyallup bistro has exceptional mac and cheese and a supreme happy hour, but it doesn't have the experience or Chef Hudson Slater to carry them through the Tournament of Mac and Cheese. Maxwell's does, and they proved it yesterday securing 82 percent of the vote and a spot in the Cheesy 16.

Let's weed through the cheese. The following are advancing to the Cheesy 16:

Eleven Eleven

Rosewood Café

Mac N More

Maxwell's Restaurant & Lounge

The daily mac and cheese battles here on Served in the South Sound are sponsored by BITE Restaurant & Bar inside the Hotel Murano.

OK, let's check out today's Cheesy 16 mac and cheese battles. Vote for one mac and cheese dish per battle. Voting for today's mac and cheese battles ends at 11:45 p.m.

Tomorrow's Cheesy 16 Mac and Cheese Battles

Game 1: Crown Bar (2705 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) vs. Rosewood Café (3323 N. 26th St., Tacoma)

Game 2: Eleven Eleven (1111 S. 11th St., Tacoma) vs. Steel Creek American Whiskey Co. (1114 Broadway, Tacoma)

Game 3: Engine House No. 9 (611 N. Pine St., Tacoma) vs. Mac N More (9323 Martin Way E., Lacey)

Game 4: Maxwell's Restaurant & Lounge (454 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma) vs. Top of Tacoma Bar and Café (3529 McKinley Ave. E., Tacoma)

At 6 p.m. Monday, April 6, join us at McNamara's Pub & Eatery in DuPont for the Official Tournament of Mac and Cheese Party - our winner will be announced during halftime of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game.