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Return of the Mac

Get the cheesy, creamy scoop on the most unique mac and cheese dishes offered in the East Bay—and we're not talking Kraft.


Comfort food is making a comeback in the East Bay and nothing says comfort like macaroni and cheese. It’s gooey, cheesy, filling, and almost everyone ate it as a kid, giving it a nostalgia factor irresistible to many diners—at least, that’s the hope of Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade. The co-owners of Homeroom, a new restaurant set to open in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood by the end of the year, will be featuring a whopping eight variations on the kid’s classic. Says Wade, “The thing about mac and cheese is it’s a dish that everybody knows and loves—it’s a common point of reference for a lot of people.”

Among the offerings at Homeroom (the original name was Little Mac until lawyers from McDonalds objected) will be a classic Three Cheese with extra sharp cheddar, San Joaquin gold, and mozzarella cheeses; a Trailer Mac with chopped up hot dogs, topped with crushed potato chips; and a mac and cheese with goat cheese and chopped scallions, topped with cheddar and bread crumbs.

While certainly an extreme example of this trend, Homeroom is far from unusual. Here are a few other East Bay restaurants with high end mac and cheese options.

► Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen, 2261 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, (510) 548-6900, angelineskitchen.com.
What: Baked Mac & Cheese with crunchy parmesan crust.
Ingredients: Velveeta, parmesan, cheddar, and some secret ingredients.
Price: $5.95

► Brown Sugar Kitchen, 2534 Mandela Parkway, Oakland, (510) 839-7685, brownsugarkitchen.com.
What: Macaroni and Cheese,
Ingredients: Sharp cheddar.
Price: $5

► Chop Bar, 247 4th St., Oakland, (510) 834-2467, oaklandchopbar.com.
What: Housemade Mac & Cheese
Ingredients: Three cheeses—cheddar, swiss and parmesan—with Prather Ranch ham for another $1.50.
Price: $7

► Eddie’s American Hangout, Pleasanton and Livermore locations, eddiepapas.com.
What: Macaroni and Cheese
Ingredients: Blend of Sonoma Cheddar and Jack cheeses.

► Five Restaurant, 2086 Allston Way, Berkeley, (510) 225-6055, five-berkeley.com.
What: Orzo Mac & Cheese
Ingredients: Orzo pasta with smoked gouda cheese and roasted king trumpet mushrooms, topped with a tomato jam.
Price: $12

► Jack’s, 60 Crescent Drive, Pleasant Hill, (925) 849-6195, jacksrestaurant.com.
What: Italian Mac (one of seven mac and cheeses offered on Jack’s menu)
Ingredients: parmesan, mozzarella, Italian sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and chili flakes.
Price: $9.95

► Miss Pearl’s Jam House, 1 Broadway, Oakland, (510) 444-7171, misspearlsjamhouse.com.
What: Miss Pearl’s Mac Pie
Ingredients: Baked macaroni, sharp cheddar cheese, and scallions.
Price: $7

► Pican, 2295 Broadway, Oakland, (510) 834-1000, picanrestaurant.com
What: Smoked Gouda “Mac ‘N Cheese”
Ingredients: Four cheeses: parmesan, sharp cheddar and smoked gouda for flavor. The fourth is a shocker: Velveeta, the secret for a smooth, creamy and velvety mac n’ cheese.
Price: $6

► Sideboard, 411 Hartz Ave., Danville, (925) 984-2713.
What: Truffled Mac & Cheese
Ingredients: Truffle oil, aged cheddar, gruyere cheese, and toasted bread crumbs.
Price: $9.75


Got a favorite mac and cheese dish we didn't mention? E-Mail us at dish@maildiablo.com.



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