Sorry, hot dishes. Sorry, cheese curds. But mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. However, it can't possibly maintain its lofty position atop the fattening/delicious food pyramid if you don't know where to get a good bowl -- that’s why we nobly put on our stretchy pants, did the delicious research, and tracked down MSP’s seven finest curdy treats.
MSP's 7 Best Mac and Cheese Spots
Never heard of cavatappi noodles? Well, in Italy it means... something, presumably, and in The Lowry it means you're about to eat a huge pile of little pasta covered in Swiss, smoked gouda, and (if you want it) your choice of things like tomato and ham.
Technically, this heaping bowl of sweet peas, lobster, and fresh WI Parmesan is a small plate, which is good, since it means you can afford to do what we do: order their cheese curds, too, and throw a couple of those bad boys on top.
This spot's also known as the Bad Day Bar, but how can you possibly have a bad day when nomming on pasta w/ gorgonzola, fontina, aged Wisconsin cheddar, caramelized onions, tomato & smoky bacon w/ a roasted garlic crust? You CAN'T!
Always a late-night favorite for college students, Mesa prides itself on its wide and eccentric range of pizza toppings, including their signature slice: the infamous Macaroni and Cheese Pizza featuring a creamy sauce and noodles baked right onto one of their enormous by-the-slice pies.
Brassa is all about small dishes you share, but you're not going to want to share their mac and cheese: only available at their St. Paul location, it's a classic version that's perfect with smoked beef and cornbread.
You could describe almost everything at HD the way you typically describe mac and cheese (there're lots of noodles and cheesy, creamy goodness to go around on this menu), but you shouldn't, 'cause that would be an insult to their real version: a taleggio, king crab, and truffle oil monster, that looks (and probably tastes) like no other mac.
Plans for Smack Shack's permanent home were announced some time early in the Van Buren administration (they actually incited the Panic of 1837), but the permanent home of the lobster-ific food truck didn't open until 2013, and the chance to eat their famed Lobster Mac & Cheese under a roof was worth the wait.
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1. The Lowry2112 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis
2. Red Stag Supperclub509 1st Ave NE, Minneapolis
3. Good Day Café Bad Day Bar5410 Wayzata Blvd, Golden Valley
4. Mesa Pizza Uptown1440 W Lake St, Uptown
5. Brasa Premium Rotisserie777 Grand Ave, Saint Paul
6. HauteDish119 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis
7. Smack Shack603 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis
Finally gorgeous-ifying the building that made the block cringe for years, The Lowry's a boozy, modern diner decked with clean leather booths, stained concrete floors, rich wood everywhere, and a sleek fireplace near the hostess stand, which is hopefully staffed by some good-looking HoHos.
Red Stag's got organic, Northwoods-inspired eats, classic cocktails, and live music nightly.
As American as a blueberry muffin (which they have on their baked goods menu), this place is offering up traditional comfort food options, like burgers and made-from-scratch fries. Don't miss their gussied up takes on classics, too, like the maac and cheese with gorgonzola, fontina, aged Wisconsin cheddar, caramelized onions, tomato, and smoky bacon with a roasted garlic crust.
A late night favorite, Mesa prides itself on its wide and eccentric range of pizza toppings, but their signature slice is the infamous macaroni and cheese pizza featuring creamy sauce and noodles baked on to one of their enormous by-the-slice pieces.
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.
The much-lauded Dish, between the Warehouse and Gateway districts, rocks a menu with artfully presented, reinvented takes on Midwestern classics like mac and cheese with king crab and truffle oil, blackened fish tacos and, steak and potatoes. Perfect for empty stomachs at any hour, Haute offers choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but if you go in after the late evening, you'll be able to choose from a long list of house cocktails and dozens of draught beers from nearby breweries.
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.