Two women own this hip macaroni and cheese joint in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland. That’s right – Homeroom is a restaurant devoted to the amazingness known as mac and cheese.
The space is fun and cozy – a schoolhouse-inspired theme complete with a large chalkboard, clip board menu, and library card catalog for frequent diners. The servers are casual and cheerful and create a cozy setting full of Northern California goodness. Homeroom chooses local purveyors, from the Heath tiles in their bathroom to Spring Hill cheese and Oakland’s own Wade’s Root Beer (which I just read was developed specifically for Homeroom).
The menu is full of quirky names and gourmet combinations, from Trailer Mac (with hot dogs and potato chips) to the Spring Mac (asparagus and asiago cheese). You can order one of their unique creations, or you can choose from a long list of mix-ins to create your own masterpiece. My first mac experience was Spring Mac, and it has remained a staple of our order to this day for us. It’s creamy and gooey and full of crisp vegetables. The Exchange Student is my new favorite. It’s make-your-nose-run spicy with tons of sriracha and crunchy scallions. They are a good complement to each other if you are up for sharing, just be sure to start with the Spring Mac otherwise you’ll only taste sriracha. We also add in a Kid Mac: simple, creamy, and delicious. The boys share one order and we usually still have leftovers. The portions are very big and although you are served a big heaping bowl of mac and cheese, somehow it doesn’t feel overly heavy (unless you eat the whole thing) and I usually can get at least two meals out of one order. I love leftovers!
The menu is not limited to only mac and cheese; the sides are delicious and not to be missed. Plus if you eat your greens on the side you won’t feel too guilty for face planting into a bowl of carbs, right? We are big fans of the minty peas and brussels sprouts. In fact, I like combining the leftover peas with the leftover mac for a next day meal.
Also not to be missed is the drink selections of white, red, and local beer – they are easy to drink and perfectly pair with your dinner.
And then there are the desserts. My go-to is the banana cream pie in a jar. It’s sweet, layered up banana, pudding, cookies and carmel sauce. It’s in a small mason jar, technically big enough to share, but a perfect single portion for me. In the past we’ve had some seasonal deserts, including a frozen grasshopper pie and homemade Oreo cookie. Save room for dessert, trust me!
I haven’t even got to the best part yet! Homeroom now has an app for drive up to-go service. It’s simply FANTASTIC for a busy mom as getting the kids in and out of the car, walking across the street, and carrying bags of food all while trying to wrangle multiple littles is not easy. It’s a free download and easy to navigate: you select your food items, link a credit card right to the app, choose a pick up time, drive up in front of the restaurant, and within 10 seconds someone pops out to ask your name, and voila! a bag of deliciousness is handed to you.
Here are a few tips to make the most of your trip to Homeroom:
1) Go early. It’s a small dining room and it fills up fast. Arrive together, or be prepared to wait until everyone arrives to be seated. OR use the app and enjoy curb side pick up!
2) Order a few different kinds of mac and share family style. Any order is far too much for one person (which is great for leftovers), and sharing means you can get a good sampling of what they offer.
3) Don’t fill up on mac so much that you can’t indulge in a little dessert.
Bring the family out to try Homeroom and I promise you won’t be disappointed. As if the comfort food isn’t enough to lure you in, the super friendly, attentive, and generous team will be sure you enjoy your experience. Tell them I sent you! xo