There are many takes on Macaroni and Cheese (Mac‘n Cheese), that old stand by that has new popularity as a trendy comfort food. In California, (and more specifically Los Angles and San Francisco), specialty gourmet macaroni and cheese restaurants and a few food carts are well established, but now, that trend has made its way to the East Coast.
Mr. Mac’s, located at 497 Hooksett Rd. in Manchester, New Hampshire, offers a strong entry into this emerging specialty with a wide variety of combinations, ingredients, and flavors to illuminate the taste buds. Upon entering Mr. Mac’s, a customer might not be impressed until they look at the combinations and options that they can create. Coming in four different sizes, (Small: Feeds 1, Medium: Feeds 2-3, "The Big Cheese" or Large: Feeds 3-5, Tray: Feeds 10-16), the menu begins with some of the restaurant’s own combinations and crowd favorites.
Customizing the dish and you’re on your way!
Each dish starts the same: a healthy portion of par-cooled elbow macaroni and the house made white cheese sauce (which is added to every dish). The cooks then add and mix the customers selected ingredients and pours the combination into the skillet. The creation is topped with a sprinkle of cheese and placed into a specialty oven. When cooked, the dish is served in the piping hot skillet, on a wood placemat, with a hot-mitt covering the handle.
Mr. Mac’s menu also offers clever names, not only for show, but also help draw the patron into the creative process. The Classic All American is the basic familiar macaroni and cheese, made with American and Cabot Cheddar cheese, and is a good choice if you are unsure of what you might like to add. Cheese Please! is for the cheese lover in us all. It begins with the same base, but has four cheeses: Cheddar, Muenster, Gruyere, and a touch of Pecorino, to add a delectable, creamy-cheesy goodness. Interesting special combinations include their Lobstah (made with lobster meat), Cajun Mac (Cheddar and Pepper Jack cheeses, Andouille sausage, green pepper, onions, celery, garlic, and their own Cajun seasoning), or Papa’s Mac, which resembles the contents of a slice of pizza, (fresh Mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, sundried and roasted tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil, and pepperoni), all mixed with the elbows and sauce!
If you cannot find a house combination, feel free to make your own. Begin by choosing your size, and then choose two cheeses from a list of eleven to begin you combination. Next, if desired, you can choose from a list of 14 different sauces) some hot, some mild, and some in between). Step 4 has you choosing you veggies. Picking from a list of nine, deciding might be tough, but if you ask the staff, they are very willing to help. The last step has you choosing your meat(s). Again, picking from eleven different meats might make you feel a tad over whelmed, but just remember that this is your special dish, so let your imagination and taste buds run wild! Prices and sizes may vary for building your own.
As well as having Mac’n Cheese, Mr. Mac’s also offers a salad selection, offering a blend of greens with a touch of purple cabbage and carrot shreds for a little extra color and crispness. Customers can add veggies, cheeses, meats, and dressings to create their personalized tasty salad. Sizes come in small and large. As well as having a green salad, they also have macaroni salads. Similar to the macaroni and cheeses, the mac salads have ingredients mixed right in. The Classic Mac Salad combines the elbows with a blend of mayo, Dijon mustard and vinegar tossed with red onion, peppers, and parsley. Again if you cannot find one of the house made salads, you can always make you own, choosing from the list of sauces (17), Veggies (12), Cheeses (12), and Meats (11). The possibilities and combinations go as far as one’s imagination can go! Prices will vary, depending what you order and what size you want.
If you have any room left after your meal, there is a dessert menu of more comfort food, including such favorites as: whoopee pies, fudge brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and a unique item called a waffle doodle. Mr. Mac’s also offers a gluten free menu, and the option to “take and bake” your order (which is having everything mixed there, but allowing patrons to bake it at home when they are ready).
Besides great food, what makes Mr. Mac’s worthwhile is the experience that one has while they are here. The excitement of deciding what to order. The process of choosing the “correct” combination of ingredients for you own, special creation. The wonderment and enjoyment of sharing and tasting others (if you cam with people) to see what theirs is like. Mr. Mac’s is truly a place where on can let their imagination fly with endless possibilities.
So if you are looking for a unique, delicious, and great meal, try Mr. Mac’s. They atmosphere is very family friendly, and great for a gathering.
Open 7 days a week, and located just off I-93 at exit 9S in Manchester. Follow them on twitter, become a fan on Facebook, and visit them at: http://mr-macs.com.