SmithAir747
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Mac & Cheese Restaurants

Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:25 am

Ever visited a restaurant that specialised in macaroni and cheese?

Macaroni and cheese is at the top of my list of favourite foods, and I specialise in making my own homemade versions of it. The most exclusive mac & cheese restaurant in the world is my kitchen   with a table for one or two.

Macaroni and cheese is not something normally emphasised in restaurants. Most of the time, if I see mac & cheese in a restaurant, it is usually served in a tiny bowl on the side and appears to be made from a processed mix. It is usually a side dish or a children's menu item. I never even thought there would be a restaurant serving this as a major item, much less a specialty mac & cheese restaurant.

That is, until last year, when I read in a San Francisco newspaper an article about a new mac & cheese specialty restaurant opening up in Oakland. It was named Homeroom, and I immediately wanted to find out where it was, and what it was like.

It has its own folksy website: http://www.homeroom510.com

Homeroom is located on 40th Street in Oakland, a few blocks east of the MacArthur BART station.

Yesterday, I finally got my chance to go try it for the first time. Then I walked all the way from Oakland to Berkeley on Telegraph Avenue (my first inter-city walk).

Some photos I took there:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v655/SmithAlien747/Homeroom%20Mac%20and%20Cheese/DSCF2135.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v655/SmithAlien747/Homeroom%20Mac%20and%20Cheese/DSCF2136.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v655/SmithAlien747/Homeroom%20Mac%20and%20Cheese/DSCF2137.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v655/SmithAlien747/Homeroom%20Mac%20and%20Cheese/DSCF2143.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v655/SmithAlien747/Homeroom%20Mac%20and%20Cheese/DSCF2138.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v655/SmithAlien747/Homeroom%20Mac%20and%20Cheese/DSCF2141.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v655/SmithAlien747/Homeroom%20Mac%20and%20Cheese/DSCF2142.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v655/SmithAlien747/Homeroom%20Mac%20and%20Cheese/DSCF2144.jpg

As you can see in the photos, the restaurant is a small one, with a schoolroom theme (blackboards, ABC strip, library card catalogue, etc). Perhaps that is where the name "Homeroom" comes from.

Homeroom specialises in mac & cheese, making 10 or more varieties of it. This doesn't come in tiny bowls either (as in most restaurants that bother with it), but the portions are sizeable. Breadcrumbs are an option, for 50c extra, along with other bits of flavouring (broccoli, bacon, you name it) for $1-$2 extra. A large platter of mac & cheese (any variety) can also be ordered in advance for office meetings or other events. Other menu items are available (sides, etc). Beer and wine are available (and suggestions for pairing a beer or wine are written next to the name of each mac & cheese menu entry), along with water and non-alcoholic beverages.

Since this was my first visit, I tried the Spicy Mac--a mac & cheese with two kinds of hot peppers in it, for $7.75. (Mac & cheese items run from $7.75-$9.75.) It was wonderful!

Homeroom also has its own small line of merchandise--T-shirts, "hoodie" sweatshirts, mugs, gift certificates, etc.

In keeping with the schoolroom theme, you can fill out a library catalogue card that has a grid of 10 squares. Every time you purchase a mac & cheese there, the server will stamp a gold star on your card. Buy 10, and you get a free mac! You can store your card (by letter of your surname) in the library card catalogue, and retrieve it when you return for your next visit.

Have you ever visited a mac & cheese specialty restaurant? If so, where? Tell your story!

SmithAir747
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tz757300
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RE: Mac & Cheese Restaurants

Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:33 am

Publick House - Brookline, MA

Though this place caters to their massive Beer and Whiskey selection, their Mac and Cheese is well known in the Boston area (or at least should be). Love at first taste and I'll let the picture do the talking.

Website: http://eatgoodfooddrinkbetterbeer.com/

Excellent Review: http://beerobsessed.com/blog/?p=1736

http://beerobsessed.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/publick-house-mac-n-cheese.jpg
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Aeri28
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RE: Mac & Cheese Restaurants

Mon Jun 04, 2012 1:50 am

Macaroni & Cheese is comfort food for us American's.. Although there are varied variations nationwide using a variety of cheeses, did anybody else grow up with it being made from Velveeta cheese? That is still one of my go to comfort foods.

I always loved a good mac and cheese accompanied with either apple sauce or some crispy on the outside corned beef hash or both!
 
signol
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RE: Mac & Cheese Restaurants

Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:31 am

I haven't been there but I found this place:
http://www.smacnyc.com/
while researching restaurants that cater for coeliacs, this Mac and Cheese place in New York City has a separate gluten free menu as well as regular macaroni. We didn't visit in the end, unfortunately.

signol
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Superfly
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RE: Mac & Cheese Restaurants

Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:00 am

Quoting SmithAir747 (Thread starter):
Ever visited a restaurant that specialised in macaroni and cheese?



Yes.
Falstaff took me to a barbecue place that is also well known for their macaroni & cheese.
It's called Slows Barbecue.
http://www.yelp.com/biz/slows-bar-bq-detroit

I mentioned it and took photos on my Detroit trip report 3 years ago.

Detroit Rock City (SFO-PHL-DTW) (by Superfly May 11 2009 in Trip Reports)?threadid=148353&searchid=148870&s=Detroit+Rock+City#ID148870

Quoting tz757300 (Reply 1):
Publick House - Brookline, MA


That look delicious!   
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EddieDude
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RE: Mac & Cheese Restaurants

Mon Jun 04, 2012 4:42 pm

Artisanal in NYC does not specialize in or focus on mac & cheese but it certainly makes great mac & cheese!
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RE: Mac & Cheese Restaurants

Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:08 pm

I had a deprived childhood, I didn't know that Mac & Cheese came exclusively from a blue box with powdered (or fake cheese sauce from a pouch).

The joy of good homemade mac & cheese cannot be understated. It is one of those things I should learn how to make, doesn't look all that hard, but takes more than the 10 minutes it takes to make the stuff from the blue box.
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RE: Mac & Cheese Restaurants

Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:12 pm

Quoting SmithAir747 (Thread starter):
Homeroom is located on 40th Street in Oakland, a few blocks east of the MacArthur BART station.

Let me guess: not very far from a few different medical marijuana "clinics"?

Some feel that fat, high and stupid is no way to go through life (son), but others disagree...

I'm not sure where I come down on that topic.

While I think about it some more, I think I'll get me some mac and cheese!  Silly

[Edited 2012-06-04 12:13:43]
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DocLightning
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RE: Mac & Cheese Restaurants

Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:51 pm

Quoting Revelation (Reply 7):
Let me guess: not very far from a few different medical marijuana "clinics"?

What's the most important thing about a brick-and-mortar business? Location, location, location!

I have been to SMAC-NYC. I need to check out Homeroom. I need to take my Lact-Aid before going or I might cause an international incident.

When I make Mac and Cheese, I usually use some combo like: Cheddar (good cheddar), Gorgonzola or another Blue, Manchego or Parmesan, and something soft, like a Brie.
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corocks
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RE: Mac & Cheese Restaurants

Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:23 am

In Houston we have 2 locations of a place called Jus'Mac.

http://www.jusmac.com/

Personally, I was a little disappointed. While they had great and original ideas and flavor combinations, I thought it was just okay. If you are going to have a whole restaurant centered on Macaroni and Cheese, then it better be the best Mac and cheese I have ever had. It was not.

To me, without a doubt, high end steakhouses seem to make the best mac and cheese. Not sure why, but if they have it on the menu, it is almost always awesome.
 
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RE: Mac & Cheese Restaurants

Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:21 pm

Quoting corocks (Reply 9):
To me, without a doubt, high end steakhouses seem to make the best mac and cheese. Not sure why, but if they have it on the menu, it is almost always awesome.

Wow, talking about an artery hardening experience: steak with mac and cheese on the side!
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hOMSaR
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RE: Mac & Cheese Restaurants

Tue Jun 05, 2012 6:46 pm

Quoting Aeri28 (Reply 2):
did anybody else grow up with it being made from Velveeta cheese?

Yessssssss!
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boeingfever777
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RE: Mac & Cheese Restaurants

Wed Jun 06, 2012 5:55 am

Beachcomber Cafe - Crystal Cove in Newport Coast, CA.
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zippyjet
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RE: Mac & Cheese Restaurants

Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:28 pm

Quoting SmithAir747 (Thread starter):

That will be the last type of restaurant I'd go to with the exception of joints that serve up Crickets, dung beetles and other creepy crawly critters.
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SmithAir747
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RE: Mac & Cheese Restaurants

Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:03 pm

Quoting boeingfever777 (Reply 12):

That looks yummy!  

What is on top of it? Big mushrooms? Some type of seafood?

SmithAir747

[Edited 2012-06-06 16:33:34]
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blink182
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RE: Mac & Cheese Restaurants

Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:26 pm

Quoting signol (Reply 3):
I haven't been there but I found this place:
http://www.smacnyc.com/
while researching restaurants that cater for coeliacs, this Mac and Cheese place in New York City has a separate gluten free menu as well as regular macaroni. We didn't visit in the end, unfortunately.

You beat me to it. Amazing mac 'n cheese. I've been there several times and always a struggle to find an open seat in what is a small restaurant. Next time you're here, as long as you are only with one or two people, its well worth a visit.
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Longhornmaniac
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RE: Mac & Cheese Restaurants

Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:12 am

Quoting corocks (Reply 9):
To me, without a doubt, high end steakhouses seem to make the best mac and cheese. Not sure why, but if they have it on the menu, it is almost always awesome.

   The Fleming's Chipotle Cheddar Mac & Cheese is out of this freaking world.

Velveeta from scratch is also a hell of a meal. It's so thick, so you get full really quickly.

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2707200X
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RE: Mac & Cheese Restaurants

Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:12 am

MMMMMmmmmm! that looks good!, I like to see a mac&cheese restaurant in Long Beach, OC or San Diego where I live!         
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boeingfever777
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RE: Mac & Cheese Restaurants

Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:37 am

Quoting SmithAir747 (Reply 14):

What is on top of it?

Sliced portabella mushroom, you can also get prawns, clams, calamari, or grilled chicken.
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KaiGywer
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RE: Mac & Cheese Restaurants

Thu Jun 07, 2012 5:32 am

Quoting Aeri28 (Reply 2):
Although there are varied variations nationwide using a variety of cheeses, did anybody else grow up with it being made from Velveeta cheese?

Mmm Velveeta  
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