Every part of the country has its own food speciality. New York and New Jersey have thousands of mom-and-pop pizza shops. Seattle is overrun by trendy coffee shops. Maine is a mecca for seafood. And, to the surprise of some, it turns out that California’s Bay Area has a concentrated community of mac ’n’ cheese lovers.
Last week the San Francisco Chronicle’s Inside Scoop blog recently highlighted local restaurants that make their own twist on the classic comfort food, and best of all they created an awesome map charting out where, exactly, they can be found.
A few standouts:
- Healdsburg Bar & Grill, a laid-back eatery perfect for pub food that’s been given a little extra culinary flair, makes their own special mac ’n’ cheese with parmesan, cheddar, green onions, Dijon mustard, and bacon. If your stomach wasn’t grumbling by the time I said bacon, then you should probably see a doctor.
- Moving down south to San Rafael will take you to the Best Lil’ Porkhouse, a barbecue restaurant that serves up a creamy mac ’n’ cheese side dish, which is put together with fusilli pasta, tons of gooey cheese, topped with bread crumbs, and garnished with crumbled bacon.
- Berkeley is home to Henry’s Pub and Restaurant, known for its Angry Mac ’n’ Cheese, made with a three cheese sauce, garlic, tomato, and scallions.
- Mission Cheese is an old favorite for cheesemongers and artisanal cheese enthusiasts. In addition to carefully crafted cheese boards and charcuterie samplings, this friendly food haven serves a mean mac ’n’ cheese with clothbound cheddar, washed rind cow’s milk cheeses, and a massive coating of crispy bread crumbs.
- If you can’t get enough of food with Southern soul, check out Rusty’s Southern. The mac ’n’ cheese here is tossed in creamy béchamel sauce with onions, sharp Tillamook cheddar, and parmesan. The dish can be topped with either pork cracklings or kale chips. I can’t blame you for drooling.
- For the utmost variety, Oakland’s Homeroom is the place to go. Homeroom has over a dozen different mac ’n’ cheese dishes to choose from and offers tons of add-ons for those who still aren’t satisfied. There’s a Hawaiian mac with Harvarti cheese and pineapple, a Sriracha mac with gouda and ginger butter, and a Greek-style mac that includes artichoke hearts and feta. It’s the stuff of dreams.
In case you don’t have summer plans yet, I’d say booking a mac ’n’ cheese tour of the Bay Area would be a pretty good place to start.
Check out the original Chron piece for gorgeous close-ups of all these guys and more!