It only took me a million years, but I finally made it out to Oakland to try Homeroom! If you’ve ever just wanted to eat platefuls of macaroni and cheese for brunch, lunch, or dinner, you need to come to Homeroom – a restaurant devoted to an American classic, macaroni and cheese. It’s been on my list for a long time, and I hoped it lived up to the hype. And, boy, it did. I headed out there on a Saturday afternoon and hoped that the line wouldn’t be too long, knowing they have hundreds of Yelp reviews and lines out the door.
400 40th Street, Oakland, CA 94609
The restaurant itself, of course, is not very large, so a wait is to be expected. There are a few tables outside on the sidewalk, several tables inside, and a couple of communal tables. We got there and put our name on the list, and sat on one of the benches outside of the restaurant. It was a really warm day, so it was pleasant enough to sit outside. The area feels a little random since there businesses in the area, but if you walk down several blocks, more restaurants are scatted throughout the area. Around the corner is Homeroom To Go, where you can pick up orders of awesome mac and cheese to take home! I only wish I lived closer to do so. But that would be dangerous. The wait took about 15 to 20 minutes. We were seated in the middle of the restaurant and got an excellent view of their fun, quirky décor and the awesome chalkboard wall. I loved the hand drawn map of California! If you look closely, all of the little doodles are the different industries in all of California’s counties. It’s super cute.
Our waitress was friendly and more than happy to help us decide what to get. There’s a good variety of macaroni and cheeses, so it was a little hard to choose. While we still decided on our entrees, we ordered homemade buttermilk biscuits, which are served with honey butter. The biscuits were warm, fresh, and surprisingly fluffy even though it didn’t look very thick. They were made perfectly to spread sweet and creamy honey butter into all of those nooks and crannies. I also ordered the Arnold Palmer, since I’m big fan of the iced tea-lemonade combo. Homeroom had a unique spin on it, by combining it with what tasted like a lavender iced tea and limeade. I ended up really liking it, and I’m not a big fan of floral flavors. I love the gradient of the colors before you mix the drinks together.
At a restaurant devoted to macaroni and cheese, choosing which mac n’ cheese to get is a tough decision. Eventually, we settled on two, well-rounded options that we could both sample. Because that’s the smart way to eat at a new place. My sister ordered the Gilroy Mac. It’s considered the best-seller, and you can’t go wrong with a reputation like that. I immediately knew it had to be garlicky and was not disappointed. This macaroni and cheese features creamy Gouda, sharp pecorino and just the right amount of roasted local Gilroy garlic. You can taste the smokiness of the Gouda and the saltiness of the pecorino, and the garlic brings all of the flavors together. It’s packed with garlic but doesn’t feel like you’re eating a plate of raw garlic cloves.
I ordered the Mac the Goat. First off, it has an awesome name. That partially already sold me. But what’s in it is what cinched the deal: rich and tangy fresh chevre, sliced scallions, served with crispy breadcrumbs and drizzled with olive oil. One of my friend’s mom makes bomb mac n’ cheese with breadcrumbs, and since I had had hers years ago, I prefer to have my macaroni and cheese that way. Combined with creamy goat cheese and scallions, this totally hit the spot. I love the tang of goat cheese, and I’m a big fan of the milder flavor of scallions, so there were a bunch of exciting flavors and textures going on when combined with crunchy, toasted breadcrumbs.
Since these plates of mac n’ cheese were ginormous, we naturally packed them to go. They hold well as leftovers, once you heat them up a little bit. I readily ate these for a couple of meals, so the ~$10 price tag per entree is worth it. This is a cute restaurant to chill with friends or bring a fun group of friends to enjoy. You can pick different flavors and sample them from each other or be comforted with a large, hot plate of macaroni and cheese that makes you realize why you fell in love with this winning combination in the first place.