Restaurants compete to see who is the big cheese in comfort food

Downtown Visalia’s first macaroni and cheese culinary competition to run July 12 to 31, encouraging locals to dine downtown

VISALIA – With summer in full swing, some of downtown Visalia’s restaurants are cooking up a little friendly competition with a mac and cheese contest, encouraging patrons to come out, eat, and vote for downtown Visalia’s best comfort food classic.

Visalia’s inaugural comfort food competition began on July 12 and will run through the end of the month. Diners who order the dishes from participating restaurants will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite mac and cheese at the restaurant or at Downtown Visalians’ web site, the organization hosting the event.

Participating restaurants:
  • Bistro di Bufala
  • Brewbakers
  • Corby’s
  • Downtown Rookies
  • Fugazzi’s
  • Lake Bottom
  • Marriott Greatroom
  • Pita Kabob
  • Sequoia Brewing Company
  • Tommy’s

Steve Nelsen, mayor of Visalia and executive director of Downtown Visalians, said the mac and cheese contest is a great way for local restaurants to come out of a year of COVID.

“After the challenging year that our restaurants have had, it is time for them to have a little light-hearted fun,” Nelsen said.

Visalia’s downtown eateries suffered through the shutdowns with the rest of the state—though truthfully many remained open in defiance of state law. Now with the tier system gone and the state opened up, executive director of Visit Visalia Nellie Freeborn said businesses have been able to ramp up services and go back to providing their normal level of service.

“We are seeing an influx of visitors back to our city as summer travel picks up,” Freeborn said. “Exploring our local dining scene is a great way for visitors to get to know the city and we are thrilled that they have such an engaging and fun way to do so.”

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