Say ‘(mac and) cheese’

Restaurant offers new take on old favorite


Cassie Eskicioglu

MAC’D is the only San Francisco restaurant dedicated to mac and cheese dishes. The restaurant first opened last year in San Francisco and has two locations in the City, as well as one in Portland, OR.

Cassie Eskicioglu, City Life Editor

With just two traditional ingredients — pasta and cheese — macaroni and cheese may seem rather limited, but a trendy restaurant on Fillmore Street begs to differ.

With nearly 2000 different combinations available, MAC’D offers its customers the opportunity to create their own mac and cheese. From vegan dishes to the classic Meat Lover, MAC’D has an option for everyone.

The order-at-the-counter style requires customers to decide what to eat before sitting down. MAC’D breaks the ordering process into four steps: choosing one cheese sauce out of six, picking a noodle out of three options including cauliflower, selecting some of the 14 available mix-ins such as bacon and chicken, and finally reviewing the six toppings including truffle oil and pulled pork.  

Unique toppings range from hot Cheetos to hot dogs to banana peppers. Adding truffle oil, Korean short ribs or crab offers an immediate flavor upgrade to a simple mac and cheese.

For those overwhelmed by the seemingly limitless options, MAC’D offers four favorite dishes to diners. The Meat Lover ($14) is perfect for anyone who favors all kinds of meat from pork to short ribs, while others looking for a more vegetable-based meal with ingredients like peas, broccoli, and pesto should try The Green Machine ($11). The more adventurous diners should try the Monster Mac ($38), a dish meant for sharing served in a cast iron skillet.

One seemingly perfect combination is elbow-shaped noodles with chicken, tomatoes, truffle oil, the Goddess sauce, breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese to top it off. The truffle oil enhances the garlic flavor in the sauce by adding a subtle mushroom taste, and the breadcrumbs add the perfect element of crunch to each bite.

Initially cooked on a stovetop and then finished in an oven, each personalized mac and cheese comes with ingredients melted and cooked together to create a layered, textured dish. Each bite is a taste of every ingredient.

The #Basic Sauce — with two types of cheddar, asiago and Parmesan — is the ultimate option for those looking for a heavy cheese and less mac option. MAC’D also offers a vegan “cheese” sauce that is soy, dairy and gluten-free.

A definite must for the table are two side options, brussel sprouts and fries. Covered with Parmesan cheese and a hint of truffle, the fries are an ideal side to split with friends or family.   

While MAC’D is not the place to frequent for a light meal, as it offers carb-heavy items, the restaurant is the perfect place to splurge on a comfort meal.

Intended as a hip and fun spot for teens and millennials, the restaurant’s comical menu with catchy dish names such as the Hellapeño, in addition to its simplistic decor with wood tables and pops of orange color, make the restaurant a fun setting.

With a silent television and an absence of music, however, MAC’D lacks a sense of ambience for customers.

Just a 10-minute walk from the Broadway campus, MAC’D is a great alternative for off-campus lunch.

MAC’D has a second location on Polk Street. Both locations are open from Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m to 9 p.m. and Friday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.