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Cheap Eats: Homeroom

This mac and cheese restaurant dishes up nostalgia on the cheap.


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Thought you never wanted to go back to school? Homeroom might make you reconsider. The new mac and cheese joint on Oakland’s up-and-coming 40th Street takes the kids’ favorite and serves it 10 adult ways—emphasizing California artisan cheeses—in a space that mixes urban chic with grade school throwbacks.

The approachable menu ranges from the cheddary classic ($7.50) to more gourmet versions, like Mac the goat, where creamy goat cheese mac is pleasantly seasoned with scallions and topped with a layer of crispy breadcrumbs; and the flavorful Mexican mac, featuring Niman Ranch chorizo, chipotle peppers, Jack cheese, cilantro, and lime (both $8.50). Teens and adults alike will love the trailer mac with Prather Ranch hot dog bits and crushed potato chips ($8.50), not to mention the caramel brownie sundae ($6.50), and a sea salt dusted “Oreo,” consisting of two full-sized chocolate cookies sandwiching a near-perfect rendition of Oreo filling ($2).

While the menu is limited to cheesy pasta, Homeroom turns a dish traditionally made from a box into something authentic and crafty—not Kraft-y.

Flashback: Aside from the mac and cheese, Homeroom is filled with nostalgic touches like chalkboard wall panels, blue plastic serving trays, a cabinet for patrons to store frequent-buyer “library cards” (buy 10 mac dishes and get one free), and the paper airplane instructions on the back of the menu.

Grown-up Beverages: If the house-brewed root beer ($2.50) doesn’t win you over, the eatery also offers a healthy selection of Northern California beers ($4–$5), ciders ($5), and wines ($5–$8 for a glass or $20–$35 by the bottle), as well as a beer float (“bloat”) made with Old Rasputin Imperial Stout and Three Twins ice cream ($6.50).

Mac to the earth: There’s a vegan option on the menu, and for an extra $1.50, any mac dish can be made gluten free.

Homeroom, 400 40th St., Oakland, (510) 597-0400, homeroom510.com. Lunch and dinner Tues.–Sun.
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