Oakland’s Homeroom Restaurant

Taking Macaroni and Cheese to a Whole Other Level

San Francisco and the greater Bay Area may be home to some of the world’s most cutting-edge restaurants and innovative chefs but for some folks, five-star dining means comfort food very well done, not molecular gastronomy and other culinary artistry. When it comes to comfort food, macaroni and cheese ranks right up there in the pantheon of simple foods that warm the belly and the soul in equal measure. While mac-and-cheese is fairly easy to execute in any kitchen, two chefs in Oakland have taken it to dizzyingly new culinary heights at Homeroom, located at 400 40th Street.

Homeroom was started by Chefs Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade, who both took roundabout paths to running their own restaurant. A marketer and attorney by training, respectively, they both fled the corporate world for work that was more hands-on and fulfilling and by all accounts, their gamble has paid off beyond their wildest dreams. Their success is built on the fact that almost all of us crave mac-and-cheese every now and then and once you’ve tucked into a bowl at Homeroom, a box mix or gluey home experiment simply won’t cut it.

It’s fair to say that these comfort food specialists have taken mac-and-cheese to a whole new level, with devastatingly tasty variations, such as:

  • Sriracha Mac
  • Mac the Goat, with fresh chevre
  • Macximus, a Greek variation with artichoke hearts, feta and spinach
  • Mexican Mac with chorizo, cilantro, chipotle peppers and fresh lime
  • Trailer Mac, complete with diced hot dog and crushed potato chips
  • Truffle Mac with gouda, sautéed mushrooms and fresh thyme
  • (You get the idea. This ain’t Kraft dinner.)

The menu is also vegan-friendly, with (shudder) cheese-less variations. Folks looking for gluten-free options can choose from almost everything on the menu, as all the macs are available with quinoa pasta and tapioca roux. Homeroom also offers salads, sandwiches, vegetables, homemade desserts and a sizable list of add-ons that can be added to any mac or salad for those who like to color (and dine) outside the lines, so to speak.

Homeroom is located at 40th Street and Shafter Avenue in Oakland, which is close to the Macarthur BART station. They are open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and are closed on Monday. They don’t accept reservations but they do have lots of seating at the bar, small tables and the long communal table made from bleachers from a nearby high school’s gymnasium. To learn more about this unique Bay Area eatery and really get your salivary glands going, visit the restaurant’s website at http://homeroom510.com.

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