Tournament of Mac and Cheese: Yesterday's winners and Day 7 First Round battles

By Ron Swarner on March 25, 2015


Macaroni and cheese may not be duck à l'orange, but it transcends so-called gastronomy by inspiring devotion and embodying sustenance. Adults fight over whose mother's recipe wins out. Friends have mac and cheese cook-offs. Even fancy restaurants try to capitalize on such greatness by adding things such as chorizo, cotija and aged English cheddar. Hmmm, that actually sounds delicious.

Welcome to Day 7 of our Tournament of Mac and Cheese, where 64 South Sound restaurants pit their mac and cheese dishes against each other with the hopes of being crowned the champion at our championship party at McNamara's Pub & Eatery April 6.

Without further ado, let's take a gander at yesterday's results, and then preview today's matches. ...

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: Masa (2811 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) vs. Steel Creek American Whiskey Co. (1114 Broadway, Tacoma)

Steel Creek American Whiskey Co., formerly the Varsity Grill, is a cowboy joint, at least in terms of its décor. Everything it does, it does big: big dance floor, big whiskey selection, big hairdos and big bowls of creamy mac and cheese that arrive tasty and full of lobster flavor. The other big thing Steel Creek does is win big. Yesterday the downtown Tacoma joint grabbed 87 percent of the votes over Masa, and secured a spot in the Sound Round of the Tournament of Mac and Cheese.

Game 2: Chambers Bay Grill (6320 Grandview Dr. W., University Place) vs. Lunchbox Laboratory (4901 Point Fosdick Dr. NW, Gig Harbor)

Chambers Bay Grill opens its first food tournament with a big win against Gig Harbor burger joint Lunchbox Laboratory in Tuesday's First Round action. Grabbing 73 percent of the votes, the University Place golf course clubhouse dominated the stovetop for much of the game, only letting up a little to take in its own view of the Puget Sound passage ways. Chambers Bay Grill moves into the Second Round and a March 29 date with Steel Creek.

Game 3: Ricardo's Restaurant (5211 Lacey Blvd. SE, Lacey) vs. Oly Rockfish Grill (700 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia)

In yesterday's closest battle, Ricardo's edged out Oly Rockfish Grill with 54 percent of the votes. Maybe the screams of "Dungeness And You're Done!" from Ricardo's kitchen might have something to do with the victory. Stranger things have happened in Weekly Volcano food tournaments.

Game 4: Top of Tacoma Bar and Café (3529 McKinley Ave. E., Tacoma) vs. South Bay Pub & Eatery (3323 S. Bay Road NE, Olympia)

The Tournament of Mac and Cheese can be brutish and short. One cold stovetop day can destroy title dreams of even the best elbow macaroni makers. Sometimes experience can be a deciding factor. Those who have made it far in food tournaments are more consistent and less prone to scorch panko or forget cream. Top of Tacoma Bar and Café is a veteran of food tournaments and knows how to garner votes, as demonstrated yesterday with 89 percent of the votes over South Bay Pub & Eatery.

Let's weed through the cheese. The following are advancing to the Second Round:

Steel Creek American Whiskey Co.

Chambers Bay Grill

Ricardo's Restaurant

Top of Tacoma Bar and Cafe

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 First Round 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 First Round Mac and Cheese Battles

Game 1: Eleven Eleven (1111 S. 11th St., Tacoma) vs. Farrelli's Pizza (4870 Yelm Hwy., Lacey)

Game 2: Smoke + Cedar (2013 S. Cedar St., Tacoma) vs. Johnny's Seafood Market & Bistro (1199 Dock St., Tacoma)

Game 3: Maxwell's Restaurant & Lounge (454 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma) vs. Homestead Restaurant & Bakery (7837 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma)

Game 4: Ramblin Jacks (520 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia) vs. H.G. Bistro (1618 E. Main Ave., Puyallup)

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.