Mac and Cheese Every Which Way in Plymouth

Macaroni and cheese every which way.

Mac and cheese routinely joins the list of top 10 comfort foods, but lately it’s been going through a rather glamorous image makeover. Restaurants of all stripes offer creative and innovative interpretations of the classic dish and it’s more popular than ever: witness the newly opened Mac Bar in New York City. We’ve come a long way from the DayGlo orange stuff in the box variety, although there will always be room for that childhood favorite in our hearts. Join us in a local mac and cheese roundup and you will have a new found respect for the cheesy noodle.



The Eat Shop

This new eatery impresses with fresh interpretations of all sorts of beloved dishes like mac and cheese. Large tubes of rigatoni replace the usual elbows, and the creamy sauce embraces the sharp tang of real aged cheddar and Summit Extra Pale Ale. We found bits of smoky ham nestled in the loose sauce; refined panko breadcrumbs graced the surface. The end result is somehow both sophisticated and homey. $7.95. 16605 County Rd. 24; 763.270.5929;


Old Chicago

It may sound like overkill to some, but this novelty item was too hard for us to resist, and we were thrilled with the crispy wedges that yielded hot and melty mac and cheese. Housemade with three different cheeses, each finger-food sized wedge is rolled in a mixture of Parmesan and seasoned bread crumbs, and deep-fried till golden. A smoky marinara sauce rides shotgun for dipping. Add a stick and you’d think you were at the Minnesota State Fair. $3.99. 3505 Vicksburg Ln. N. #100; 763.744.1221;


Jake’s City Grille

Penne means feather in Italian and these graceful cylinders of pasta are indeed reminiscent of fancy plumage. Cooked until just al dente, each slender tube collects a garlicky and tomato cream sauce made with pungent asiago and parmesan cheeses. Crumbled Italian sausage adds both flavor and depth along with a distinctive hit of paprika. $12.95. 3005 Harbor Ln. N.; 763.559.1595;


Cowboy Jack’s

These zesty corkscrews are well sauced with chipotle-inflected cheese. The spiral pasta shape is an excellent sauce-catcher, and you’ll want to get every last drop of that spicy, smoky and smoothly cheesy deliciousness. Although it’s offered as a side dish, the portion is generous enough to stand for a satisfying meal. $2.99. 4120 Birkshire Ln. N.; 763.559.0257;


Latuff’s Pizzeria

It may not be called mac and cheese, but pasta smothered in melted mozzarella certainly matches the profile. Dig beneath the thick blanket of cheese to unearth a big, beefy meatball napped in a simple tomato sauce. We were mesmerized by the age-old pleasure of stretching strands of cheese to maximum length. It comes with a simple, palate-cleansing salad. $10.25. 10820 Hwy. 55; 763.545.2914;


Noodles and Company

 We couldn’t decide between the BBQ pork, truffle or Wisconsin cheddar mac & cheeses, so we sampled all three that were on the menu. Each one starts with nicely al dente macaroni, a creamy cheese sauce and additional gooey melted cheese. The Wisconsin cheddar mac & cheese hit the platonic ideal of the beloved dish: thick with yellow cheese and bearing a crown of nicely toasted breadcrumbs. The BBQ pork version was sweet with a smoky sauce, dense with tender shredded meat and finished with a scattering of crispy onions. Our favorite version was the truffle mac, which the menu referred to as “a little taste of France.” This beauty is spiked with pungent white truffle oil, studded with sautéed baby portabella mushrooms and topped with both parmesan cheese and toasted breadcrumbs. Rich, decadent and deeply satisfying. 3425 Vicksburg Ln. N.; 763.559.4336;


Green Mill

A relatively new menu item, this luxurious dish has found its way to an unassuming local chain. It is nowhere near unassuming in flavor: the round trottole pasta is embraced by a slippery MontAmoré cheese sauce and liberally studded with garlicky nuggets of tender lobster meat. Breadcrumbs add a welcome crunch while a wedge of lemon contributes the perfect acidic note. $15.99. 2705 Annapolis Ln. N.; 763.553.9000;


Solo’s Pizza Café

Yes, you read that right: mac ‘n’ cheese pizza—the very idea of which may horrify, delight or induce a spontaneous carb coma. We rather enjoyed the experience. A thick layer of macaroni blended with melted Monterey jack and cheddar Monterey jack cheeses adorns Solo’s classic pizza crust. The top is dusted with a layer of crunchy breadcrumbs, then the whole shebang is broiled until golden. After we got over the novelty of this crazy hybrid, we savored every bite of creamy, gooey, crispy goodness. This would make a perfect snack at your next tailgate party. $7.75; add smoked bacon and tomato for $1.50. 2700 Annapolis Cir.; 763.331.0233;


Sarpino’s Pizzeria

This is a double mac and cheese, if you consider that each tortellini is essentially a self-contained orb of mac and cheese in itself. Sarpino’s generous helping is rich with a creamy alfredo sauce and baked with melted yellow cheddar cheese for good measure. It’s mild and rib-sticking—the kind of dish that you’ll crave on those extra-hard days. $5.99. 7520 42nd Ave. N., New Hope; 763.746.7990;