Mac and Cheese is an amazing food because it’s as simple or complex as you want to make it. It’s the comfort food that meets you wherever you are. You want the childhood blue box of Kraft with the powered cheese dust? It’s got you covered. You want to put some truffles and microgreens and exotic spice and whatever in there? You go nuts. But if you don’t want to boil the water yourself, where do you go? Here are five restaurants in the Cleveland area that all have different takes on pasta and cheese, but all of them are delicious.
First up is Angie’s Soul Café. Angie’s has a couple locations, but the closest one to Cleveland is located on 7815 Carnegie Avenue. They’ve been serving homestyle food for over 25 years, and they’re rightly famous for their fried chicken and pork chops, but don’t skip the mac and cheese. Yes, it’s “just” a straightforward baked mac and cheese, but it’s straightforward for a reason. It’s creamy, it’s kissed and browned by the broiler, it’s a must-have side dish. They are a cashless establishment, so make sure you have a card or cash app on you. Here’s the full menu.
Next up is Lucky’s Café in the Tremont neighborhood at 777 Starkweather Avenue. Lucky’s winds up on a lot of “Best Brunch” lists, but don’t skip their Mac-N-Cheese. It’s a hot out the oven ramekin of ziti pasta with a four-cheese blend of cheddar, brie, parmesan and mozzarella – mixed with cream and topped with brioche bread crumbs. It’s served with applesauce and fruit, and you can add bacon if you’re feeling meaty. Here’s the full menu.
Two Bucks is a bar and bistro with multiple locations including Lakewood and Parma, and they have at least five varieties of mac and cheese on the menu every night. You’ve got The Original (that’s a smoked gouda sauce over cavatappi noodles), The Buffalo (fried buffalo chicken, bleu cheese crumbles and celery), The Smoker (pulled pork, cheddar cheese, caramelized onion, and bbq drizzle), or The Rancher (chicken, bacon, spicy ranch and cheddar cheese). In addition to these choices, there is a “Mac of the Month” that is always rotating, so stop by and see what’s on the menu. Here’s the full menu.
Okay, time to get fancy. We’re heading to Fahrenheit on 2417 Professor Ave. Chef Rocco Wahlen has created a butter-poached Maine lobster macaroni & cheese. Made with a Cognac reduction, chives, Brie & goat cheese mix and oven-dried tomatoes, all mixed with Rigatoni pasta. Doesn’t sound light, but does sound delicious. This decadent offering was season at first, but so many people came back requesting it that it became a year-round menu staple. Here’s the full menu.
And we’re closing our short tour with Nano Brew, on 1895 W 25th St. This bicycle-themed brewpub has multiple ways to enjoy mac and cheese. They have what they call the “Mac Attack”, which is a mix of roasted veggies served over an American and sharp cheddar cheese mix, topped with fried shallots. But if you’re looking to go non-traditional, you can order the “Mac n’ Cheese Bites” – fried balls of mac and cheese, served with a spicy ranch sauce. Or step it up further with the “Mesquite-bacon Cheeseburger Mac Bites”. Those are served with a spicy mayo, and bring ground beef and bacon to the mix. And as if that weren’t enough, they’ve just added the “Chicken Philly Mac Bites” mac and cheese balls with shredded chicken, mushrooms, caramelized onions, green peppers and American cheese, with bacon aioli on the side. Here’s the full menu.
Now of course this is just the tip of the mac and cheese iceberg in Cleveland, so get out there, and find your new favorite tonight.