Mac and cheese has to be one of the United States' ultimate comfort foods. There's something inherently relaxing about watching a waterfall of cheese ooze from the pasta clinging to your fork, and the warmth each bite brings to you.
If you're in San Francisco and are obsessed with cheesy mac, there's a massive culinary playground for the beloved comfort dish that's a must try.
Photo: Foodbeast // Eloise Kim
The place is called MAC'D, and they've taken the ability to custom build mac and cheese to unprecedented levels. You've got six different sauces, three starch bases (two pastas and a cauliflower option), and a whopping 20 mix-ins and toppings to choose from.
You're not just choosing from standard ingredients, though. There's options like Korean short rib, pulled pork, crab, shrimp, truffle oil, Hot Cheetos, and more to choose from. Every custom bowl is also built to order, so while it may take a while to cook, you know that you're getting everything cooked fresh, something a fast-casual chain isn't always able to offer.
By leveraging this unique spread of toppings, sauces, and pastas, MAC'D has become a treat yourself-style mac and cheese spot where creativity runs as wild as the cheese pulls folks are capturing on social media.
MAC'D started as a pop-up in early 2017, and gained enough traction to open up their first location in San Francisco's Marina District that July. Since then, response to the concept has been massive, and owners Antony Bello and Chen-Chen Huo already have a second SF location up and running on Fillmore Street in the Russian Hill District.
They're also delivering in the Portland, Oregon area, a "ghost kitchen" model that the company hopes to use to expand to another 4-6 cities in the next year. From there, they said they'll continue to open more brick-and-mortar spots based on which locations resonate with their brand.
"In the next 5-10 years, we hope to have MAC'D locations in every metropolitan hub, while serving more broadly through delivery or even affordable packaged meals," Huo told Foodbeast.