Comfort food plays an important role in Minnesotans’ daily lives. And mac and cheese is the king of comfort foods. These are some of our favorites places to fill our bellies and warm our souls with creamy, cheesy perfection!
Smack Shack is best known for their lobster rolls, but their take on mac and cheese is absolutely killer. Tender pasta is tossed with sweet corn and chunks of succulent lobster. Then it’s topped with tangy taleggio cheese and breadcrumbs. The mac comes in an entrée-size portion so you won’t even have to look at the menu when you walk in.
When Duluth Grill says their mac and cheese is “loaded,” they are not playing around. Their take on this creamy comfort food starts with penne pasta noodles, which is then covered in the Grill’s house-made smoked gouda and sharp cheddar cheese sauce. Sautéed mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and broccoli come standard. But you can (must!) add bacon for a couple dollars more.
The Capital Grille has locations throughout the country, but only on in Minnesota. At this restaurant, you can expect great wine, a nice atmosphere, and an extensive menu with endless delicious options. One thing people rave about? The lobster mac and cheese. Do not pass it up.
If you know exactly what you like on your mac and cheese—or have no clue and want to experiment—the build-your-own at Chatterbox Pub is the mac for you. The foundation is cavatappi noodles painted with creamy cheddar sauce. Then you pick three toppings, ranging from broccoli to pulled pork to spinach-artichoke dip. And they bake it to perfection and serve it steaming hot.
Chester’s Kitchen & Bar takes a swipe at lobster mac and cheese on their menu, but the real star of their bent-noodle show is the one you don’t want to share with the kids: Chester’s Adult Mac N Cheese. Firm noodles, fused with tillamook cheddar and asiago, are baked with caramelizd shallots, tomatoes, ham, and breaded crust. It’s served with grilled ciabatta bread—you let the kids have that, if you want.
For a Korean twist on a classic comfort food, head over to Cook in St. Paul. Their Mac & Chi is made with cavatappi noodles blended with butter fried kimchi—Korea’s classic comfort food—cream, and sharp cheddar. Add one of their house-made sausage links to make things serious.
Sometimes doing something simple super well is the best path to a superior product. And that’s just what Number 4 American Bar & Kitchen pulls off with their bacon mac and cheese. Nothing too fancy: Perfectly creamy mac and cheese with generous chunks of bacon. Is your mouth watering yet?
The enduring popularity of this neighborhood joint in downtown Minneapolis is that it does so many things, especially simple things, just right on a consistent basis. Like mac and cheese, for instance. Eli’s Penne & Cheese begins with tender penne noodles. They’re then tossed in a sauce made from a blend of mozzarella, asiago, and American cheeses. It’s topped with Parmesan bread crumbs and crispy basil, then served piping hot. Voilá!
As it turns out, there can be more than one awesome lobster mac and cheese in the same metro area. And BLVD Kitchen & Bar in Minnetonka has the other one. Cavatappi noodles in their house-made three-cheese cream sauce play host to chunks of fresh lobster, tomato, and green onion: All decorated with cornbread crumbs. The lobster mac & cheese is also available as a side, in case you need a few more bites.
The smoked cheddar mac and cheese at Lake Ave. Restaurant & Bar is worth the trip to Canal Park. The cheddar is enhanced with muenster and then blended into torchio pasta and topped with toasted bread crumbs. Add bacon, broccolini, or pickled chiles for a bonus flavor bump.