Cheap Eats: Homeroom
This mac and cheese restaurant dishes up nostalgia on the cheap.
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.