If there is one kind of comfort food that the Twin Cities can't get enough of, it's... hot dish... or maybe Juicy Lucys. But if there's one more kind, it's probably mac & cheese. That's why we scoured MSP for eight places that, instead of serving radioactive orange bowls of elbow "pasta," are dishing out the Mini Apple's best mac & cheese. Feast your eyes...
If you’re ever looking to get your mac & cheese on down by the river, this is the place for you. Its take on the creamy, cheesy classic comes with a four-cheese sauce and crunchy toasted bread crumbs.
Just because it has "macaroni" in the name, doesn’t mean that there aren’t other options. This Downtown eatery opts for penne instead and dresses the pasta in an Asiago/American cheese sauce. Topped with Parmesan bread crumbs and crispy basil, this bowl of mac & cheese should help keep you away from the stuff in the blue box.
If you want to pump up your lunch, head over to this South Minneapolis restaurant for mac & cheese done carbonara-style. Served with pancetta and a poached egg, it’s basically a guarantee that you’ll never look at mac & cheese the same way ever again.
This place is already legendary for its take on mac & cheese, but just in case you’ve had your fingers stuffed in your ears while wearing a blindfold for the past few years, these guys are doing theirs with lobster. While not the originator of the shellfish-infused pasta dish, they’ve gone above and beyond in proving that their rendition is more than worthy of a place in your mouth.
For whatever reason, maybe the fact that they’re owned by a James Beard Award-winning chef, the folks at Brasa can do no wrong, and their mac & cheese follows suit. The best part of the whole thing? There’s absolutely nothing fancy about it. It has macaroni, and it has cheese. The end.
South Minneapolis' most recent addition is kicking ass and taking names (although they’re not actually taking names since they don’t currently offer reservations), and while we’re not talking about anything hyper-fancy, we ARE talking about perfectly cooked pasta, creamy cheese sauce, and a buttery bread crumb top. It’s absolutely everything that mac & cheese should be. Nothing more. Nothing less.
If you ever wanted to know what a “fine dining” version of mac & cheese would look like, look no further than to the folks at HauteDish. It’s an extremely beautiful and elegant interpretation with delicious pasta, a luxurious taleggio-based sauce, chunks of king crab, bread crumbles, and fresh herbs.
Mac & cheese in a pub setting may not be all that uncommon, but these guys know how to nail it. In preparation, the mac & cheese gets the tomato and bacon treatment, which adds fresh and smoky elements to help brighten up an otherwise rich dish.
Sign up here for our daily MSP email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun the Twin Cities have to offer.
1. Wilde Roast's Cafe65 SE Main St, Minneapolis
2. Eli's Food & Cocktails1225 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
3. Icehouse2528 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis
4. Smack Shack603 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis
5. Brasa Premium Rotisserie777 Grand Ave, Saint Paul
6. Revival4257 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis
7. HauteDish119 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis
8. George & the Dragon813 West 50th Street, Minneapolis
With their black granite bar spoting eight taps including locals like Summit and Grain Belt, and Oscar Wilde-ian takes on classic cocktails like the Dorian Gray Goose Martini, Wilde Roast Cafe is your go-to for drinks and eats in Northeast.
This little Downtown bistro serves some pretty serious hot dogs, including the Big Ben topped with smokey bacon and cheddar cheese, and the Sloppy Dog, which comes with sloppy joe meat and a slice of American cheese, but don't forget to try the cocktails too!
This laid-back Whittier spot hosts live indie and jazz music acts daily in a two-story, polished industrial bar and restaurant (complete with plenty of large, comfy leather booths for the whole party). Head upstairs and watch the show, or stay downstairs for gourmet European and American fare like lobster gnocchi or a lamb platter. And it wouldn't be a real night at the Icehouse without going for one of their specialty cocktails or something from its massive top-shelf whiskey collection.
Previously, the seafood-centric fare from Smack Shack was only available out of a food truck, but now it's served up in a spacious warehouse setting with plenty of seats available that aren't a curb or roadside bench.
For whatever reason, the folks at Brasa can do no wrong. They serve Creole-insprired comfort food. One dish you must try? The mac & cheese. There’s absolutely nothing fancy about it. It has macaroni and it has cheese. The end.
This place is serving fried chicken and other fine Southern fare.
The revered HauteDish, between the Warehouse and Gateway districts, rocks a menu with artfully presented, reinvented takes on Midwestern classics like mac & cheese with king crab and truffle oil, blackened fish tacos, and steak & potatoes. Perfect for empty stomachs at any hour, Haute offers choices for breakfast (go for the chicken & waffles), lunch, and dinner, but if you go in later hours, you'll be able to choose from a long list of house-made cocktails and dozens of draft beers from nearby breweries, too.
Proving that those greedy, greedy firemen aren't the only ones who can capitalize on a building burning down (getting hosed, indeed!): George & the Dragon, an old-school, dark-wood-heavy neighborhood public house now opening in the formerly smoldering Blackbird space.