It isn’t fine dining, and it definitely isn’t lean cuisine…

Across the country, family dinner staples are taking prime position on restaurant menus. Gourmands are digging in to the ultimate comfort foods, albeit often with a high-end twist. Taking that concept even further, there are now entire restaurants dedicated purely to mac and cheese, and festivals celebrating the mighty grilled cheese sandwich. Here’s a selection of places where you can experience the ultimate in comfort foods:

The Grilled Cheese Invitational, Pasadena, CA

For ten years, food trucks have converged at this festival to offer up their own interpretation of the world’s best grilled cheese sandwich. Festival attendees go from truck to truck sampling the sandwiches, drinking beer, and then voting on their favorites at this fun and lively event. The line-ups to get the sandwiches are usually long, but each one is heavenly and unique, and worth waiting for. There’s entertainment, and a whole bunch of cheese themed craziness to participate in.

Cheese-ology, St Louis, MO

Located in trendy area The Loop, this restaurant is dedicated exclusively to mac and cheese. Here you’ll find 15 different varieties from The Classic, to Black and Bleu (Cajun spices and blue cheese), Mediterranean (goats cheese, artichoke hearts, olives, sundried tomatoes), Bacon Bacon (with gruyere, mozzarella and lots of, you guessed it, bacon), and various other interpretations of this timeless classic of North American dinner tables. More than just a gimmick, the food is good and in the two years it has been open, this restaurant has proven very popular with locals.

S’MAC, East Village, NY

With the name being short for Sarita’s Mac and Cheese, this popular spot has been dishing out nurturing plates of cheesy noodles since 2006. There are lots of different varieties, and even a build your own option if you feel like getting a little crazy. Featured all over the media, from the Oprah Winfrey Show to the New York Times, this restaurant is sure to leave you feeling fulfilled should you visit.

Macbar, New York City, NY

If you want a more gourmet mac and cheese experience, then you’ll find flavor combinations that your taste buds will trip out for at Macbar. Here you’ll find dishes like the Mac Quack, made with duck confit, fontina cheese and caramelized onions, and the Mac Lobsta’, which has chunks of lobster, cognac, mascarpone and tarragon.