When my husband and I heard that a macaroni and cheese place was opening nearby, we were psyched. Macaroni and cheese — the good homemade kind — is something we can all agree on and the idea of a place that does many varieties was totally alluring. Of course, it took months before we got to go there. When it finally opened this summer, we were so there.
MacDaddy’s in Monroe, Connecticut, is a smaller eatery set in an L-shaped strip mall. From the outside, you see the sign and the darkened windows. Yes, the windows have a dark coating to them. I don’t know why … maybe because some of the dishes are practically addictive?
Anyway, onto the macaroni.
The first time we went, we collectively tried the Mac U.S.A. (traditional mac and cheese with cheddar sauce), the Mac Doggy (with American and cheddar cheeses and sliced hot dogs) and the Mac French Onion (Gruyere cheese, caramelized onions and applewood bacon), which is pictured. Everything was served in cast iron skillets, which are sizzling hot when they arrive with an orange handle cover. (They have since started bringing separate cool dishes for kids — which is a great move. Those skillets were dangerous for the little ones.)
The kids enjoyed their Mac U.S.A.s, but more so when I salted their dishes. The sauce is okay, but nothing to phone home about. The addition of a little ground mustard and a little more salt would go a long way. My Mac French Onion also needed a little more salt. Shawn was happy with his — but thought that the salty dogs probably helped. Overall, it was okay — and okay enough that I was willing to give it a second shot.
On our second visit, Paige and I were flying solo. She went for the Mac Daddy, which she loves (it’s the hot dogs … she’s on a huge hot dog kick for some reason). I had the Mac Monsieur, which has Black Forest ham and smoked gouda in it. If I had doubts about MacDaddy before, they were completely erased with my first bite of Mac Monsieur. It was rich, creamy and perfectly seasoned … and the flavor — I couldn’t stop eating it. We also took a Mac size Mac Pulled Pork home for Shawn, and I tried that (reheated) later. Another amazing dish — It’s pulled pork, barbecue and blue cheese in the macaroni and cheese. Did I mention amazing?
The macaroni and cheeses come in three sizes: Snack (small), Mac (medium) and MacDaddy (large). Honestly, the Snack size is more than big enough for the average adult. I actually wish they had a smaller size for kids … mine can only eat about half of the Snack size.
MacDaddy’s can be pricey, particularly if you order anything larger than the Snack size which runs between $5-$13. Jump to the Mac size, and the prices are between $9-$25. And the MacDaddy size? Well, we won’t even go there because that size is whole-paycheck priced.
We’ll definitely be back to MacDaddy’s … their out-of-the-ordinary dishes are great, and the management has made some great improvements since opening — including providing dishes for kids so that they don’t have to eat out of the hot cast iron. It’s not an every day place (my waist would scream if I ate mac and cheese daily) but it’s a great occasional place that the whole family appreciates.
MacDaddy’s Macaroni and Cheese Bar
650 Main Street
Monroe, CT 06468
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.