Mac & Cheesy Goodness in Metro Detroit

By: Toni Cunningham | March 17, 2014
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True story: upon waking up the other day, I was so hungry and craving mac and cheese that I skipped the cereal and went straight for a cheesy box of Kraft goodness. Mind you, this was a non-work day, so I may or may not have rolled out of bed closer to noon than 7 a.m., but you get the idea.

While mac and cheese for breakfast may not be my proudest moment, when a hankering kicks in, what are you gonna do? I think it’s safe to say that mac and cheese is high on most people’s lists of “comfort foods,” and let’s be honest, favorite foods in general. About this time last year, we went through a rundown of some of Metro Detroit’s restaurants with seriously good mac and cheese, and I think it’s about time we do so again. I present you with part two:

Hayden’s Grill and Bar, 39895 Ford Rd., Canton, has two different mac and cheese dishes: the Ultimate-Mac-n-Cheese (penne smothered with a six-cheese sauce, topped with breadcrumbs and bacon bits) and, drum roll please, BBQ Mac-n-Cheese (penne with the same six-cheese sauce, topped with breadcrumbs, Red Stag bourbon cherry BBQ sauce and fried onion straws). Mac and cheese AND bourbon? These are a few of my favorite things.

Bastone Brewery, 419 S. Main St., Royal Oak, cranks out both craft beer and some killer mac and cheese, the combo of which makes for one fantastic meal. The menu includes macaroni and cheese served with a rich Parmesan cheese cream sauce and topped with truffled breadcrumbs. If you want to be more decadent, you have the option of adding lobster or grilled chicken. The brewer recommends pairing Bastone’s Monumental Blonde pale ale with your meal.

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Karl’s Cabin, 6005 Gotfredson Rd., Plymouth Township, is one of my personal favorite dining destinations, and while the Mac & Three Cheese can probably provide two meals in one, you might just polish it all off in one sitting. Cavatappi pasta is tossed with smoked Gouda, Monterey jack and cheddar cheeses, cream and bacon, then topped with panko breadcrumbs and scallions. It is, essentially, happiness in a bowl.

Dino’s, 22740 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, serves a Mac and Cheese dish with not one, not two, but SIX different varieties of cheese. Whoa. You can get it plain, or order mixings including lobster, crispy chicken, grilled veggies or bacon. If you’re really hungry, no one will stop you from mixin’ them all. There’s a specialty mac on the menu, too: Mexi Mac, which includes grilled chicken, pico de gallo, jalapeno slices and a specialty mexi-cheese blend.

Angelina Italian Bistro, 1565 Broadway St., Detroit, uses fresh hand crafted pasta in all of its dishes, including the Wild Mushroom Mac & Cheese. The homemade farfalle noodles (bowtie pasta, for those of you not in the know) are tossed with a Gorgonzola and Parmesan cream sauce. If your mac and cheese craving hits on a Monday, keep in mind that Angelina’s is closed until Tuesday at 5 p.m. Head somewhere else until then.

Lockhart’s BBQ, 202 E. 3rd St., Royal Oak, combines two of the best things ever into one dish: mac and cheese and barbeque. While you can order mac and cheese as a measly (yet delicious) side dish, you’d be better off trying the Mac-n-Cheese Shepherd’s Pie. Instead of being topped with boring ‘ol mashed potatoes as per usual, house smoked brisket is tossed in BBQ sauce, then topped with Lockhart’s special recipe mac-n-cheese and browned.

Seva, with locations in Ann Arbor and Detroit, serves a mac and cheese that will satisfy omnivorous taste buds, and perhaps carnivorous ones as well. The restaurant’s Vegan Mac is made with elbow pasta and Daiya cheddar-style shreds (a dairy, lactose, casein, gluten and soy free product). Make your visit within the first few days of the week and your mac and cheese could coincide with Margarita Mondays or Wine Lovers’ Tuesdays.

If that’s not yet enough mac and cheesy goodness, keep Traffic Jam & Snug, 511 W. Canfield St., Detroit, in mind for its white cheddar macaroni and cheese/soup combo meal. Compari’s, 350 S. Main St., Plymouth, has an excellent White Cheddar Mac and Cheese with baby spinach, red peppers and a crispy breadcrumb topping. The Fly Trap, 22950 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, serves a 3 Cheese and Mac with cheddar, smoked Gouda and blue cheese with cavatappi pasta and caramelized onions.

Any way you toss it or top it, mac and cheese is one delicious, customizable comfort food. While there’s nothing wrong with the powdered version sitting in your pantry, get yourself out and about this weekend and indulge in some seriously good cheesy and noodle-y dishes.