Roadhouse Mac & Cheese: A Comfort Food Classic, All Grown Up

America’s Best is Found in A2

by Lindsay Jean-Hard

Our macaroni and cheese takes a comfort food classic up a notch. (Okay, a lot of notches!) It has all of the nostalgic appeal of the childhood favorite, but with the flavor profile of a high-end pasta dish. In fact, chef, author, and television personality Alton Brown honored us as one of the top ten comfort food spots in the country for Food Network Magazine, calling out, you guessed it, our mac and cheese! One bite and you’ll be able to taste the difference. We love hearing from fellow mac and cheese fanatics that you agree, which is why we provide lots of options for getting your hands on this traditional classic.

What makes our mac & cheese so grate

Part of our vision includes “bringing really good American food to the community, using only the best available ingredients,” and that extends to every dish we make, including our macaroni and cheese. Using high-quality ingredients is what really makes our full-flavored dishes stand out—even the seemingly simplest ones.

Macaroni and cheese starts with… macaroni, of course! As Ari Weinzweig has said, “Industrially-made pasta never has the full flavor or sturdy texture that you get in a well-made artisanal offering,” which is why we make ours with Martelli maccheroni. It’s made in a tiny Tuscan hill town, about half an hour east of Pisa. Martelli pastas are created with a combination of age-old Italian traditions and premium ingredients (even the ingredients’ ingredients are important!), like hard durum wheat—you can actually smell the wheat when the pasta is dropped in the pot! Their pastas are extruded through bronze dies to get a coarse surface on the pasta and air-dried for 40 to 52 hours to help give the pasta the perfect porousness for catching sauces (their maccheroni tubes are also lined with ridges, for extra sauce-catching powers!). 

The cheese comes in with lots of two-year-old, raw milk cheddar from Cabot, melted into our homemade béchamel sauce. Béchamel is a French mother sauce traditionally made from a white roux (equal amounts of butter and flour that are cooked together to help thicken the sauce) and milk. We use both whole milk and heavy cream to make ours extra rich and then add onions and a little Dijon mustard to balance it out. 

All of those ingredients make for a delicious, flavorful batch of macaroni and cheese, but what really takes ours over the top is the crispy crust that comes from cooking each batch to order in a piping hot cast-iron skillet. (Don’t burn your fingers when you try to swipe a bite!)

Try one flavor, or try them all!

We don’t just make one kind of macaroni and cheese though, our menu has an entire section dedicated to it! With four different flavors and both vegetarian and gluten-free options, we have something for everyone—including the kids.

Roadhouse Macaroni & Cheese

This is our house classic, just like we described above, made with ​​our own béchamel sauce and lots of Cabot cheddar, caramelized with Martelli pasta. This one is naturally vegetarian-friendly!

Pimento Cheese & Bacon Macaroni

All-out Southern comfort food. Martelli pasta caramelized with béchamel, Nueske’s applewood-smoked bacon, and our house-made Southern pimento cheese. Want it vegetarian? Just ask us to remove the bacon!

Fried Chicken Macaroni & Cheese

Our buttermilk fried chicken, chopped and tossed with our béchamel sauce and lots of Cabot cheddar cheese, caramelized with Martelli pasta.

Chicken & Monterey Jack Macaroni

Ig Vella’s Monterey Jack tossed with pit-smoked Amish chicken, freshly cut corn, New Mexico green chiles, and fresh cilantro in our housemade béchamel sauce caramelized with Martelli pasta and garnished with more cilantro.

Gluten-Free

Any of our Mac & Cheese options can be gluten-free, just ask! We’ll substitute the Martelli pasta with gluten-free fusilli egg noodles and use gluten-free béchamel.

Kids

We offer kids some of our same favorite award-winning options, just without the onions. They can choose the classic, with the addition of good old American cheese, or Kid Iggy, a chile-free version of our Chicken & Monterey Jack Macaroni.

That’s what cheese said

Of course, we think our macaroni and cheese is exceptional, but we really love hearing that you all do, too.

Recently, we were honored to have been featured on ESPN during a University of Michigan football game. Former football pro Todd Blackledge hosts a segment during college games called Taste of the Town, during which he chooses a restaurant in the hometown of the team hosting the game to talk about. Taste of the Town was on a break during the pandemic, and due to popular demand, Todd brought it back for the 2021 season. The Roadhouse was the first to be filmed for its return!

What really thrills us though is hearing feedback from our guests. Whether it’s your first time visiting, or we know you by name, it always makes our day to hear that you think our food is as special as we do. Here are just a few examples:

“The famous mac and cheese lives up to the name.” 

“I discovered you when my son spent a summer at debate camp at the University of Michigan. During one of our visits to see him, we went to Zingerman’s Roadhouse. I have been a loyal fan once I tasted the Fried Chicken Macaroni and Cheese.”

“My favorite spot for comfort food in Ann Arbor. The macaroni and cheese is out of this world. This is always the first spot I take out-of-town guests.”

Is your stomach growling yet?

We know ours sure is! Luckily, you have multiple options for how to go about enjoying some for yourself.

  • Stop into the Roadhouse for a taste. We’re open Wednesdays through Mondays, for both walk-ins and reservations.
  • Enjoy some outdoors at our Roadhouse Park. We’ve added our classic mac and cheese to our exclusive Roadhouse Park Express Menu, so you can enjoy a roadside picnic of pasta. When you are ready, just go up to the Roadshow window to order, and we will text you when your food is ready! This menu was designed for faster service, but please allow 20 to 30 minutes during peak times.
  • Take your mac and cheese to go. Pick up an order at the Roadshow​. After 11 am, we have our full Roadhouse menu available for to-go orders. Call ahead at 734.663.3663 to order and we will have it ready for you when you arrive!
  • Get mac and cheese for the masses! Whether you are hosting a party at home, inviting friends over to watch the game, or just need a night off from cooking, we’ve got you covered with our Feast for Home menu, with mac and cheese for 4 or 40. Give us a call for more information: 734.663.3663; delivery and/or staffing is available.
  • Ship a mac and cheese kit. Our partner business, Zingerman’s Mail Order can send a Pimento Macaroni and Cheese Kit anywhere in the country, so you can share your love of a local favorite with non-local loved ones. (We’re all for treating yourself, too!)