BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – Lovers of cheesy pasta are getting ready to loosen their belts as the Binghamton Philharmonic presents its 8th annual Mac and Cheese Fest.

One of the competitors, Big Zues Barbecue, is preparing to compete for the second time.

The restaurant opened at the corner of Chenango and Eldredge Streets in Binghamton in October of 2021.

It specializes in smoked brisket, spare ribs and burnt ends.

As a Southern-style eatery, one of Zues’ popular side dishes is its 6 cheese mac and cheese.

Owner Jesus Clarke says he plans on putting a special twist on it for the competition.

Clarke says he’s going for the top prize this year.

“One, it’s definitely done for a good cause. That’s number 1 and number 2 I think it definitely connects us to the community and getting people a chance that didn’t have a chance to taste us, or didn’t even know we exist, to actually get a taste of our mac and cheese,” he says.

Unfortunately, the event is completely sold out but you can still support the orchestra by buying a raffle ticket online at

And I am privileged to once again serve as a celebrity judge this year.