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WCCO Viewers’ Choice For MN’s Best Macaroni And Cheese

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(credit: CBS) Matt Brickman
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s the king of comfort foods: macaroni and cheese.

Whether it comes in a blue box or out of the kitchen of a five-star restaurant, I wanted to find the best in Minnesota.

You voted and sent me to Smack Shack in Minneapolis, and the mac and cheese there differs just slightly from Kraft dinner.

“Basically, we’re going make like a cheese fondue,” said chef Josh Thoma, who owns Smack Shack. “We start with a little white wine and cream.”

Instead of neon-orange powdered cheese, Thoma opts for white American cheese, Fontina and a pungent, soft cheese called Taleggio.

In three years, Smack Shack went from a traveling food truck to a North Loop address. There, they boil a lot of lobster.

“We have the biggest tanks in the Midwest,” Thoma said.

That means at any time up to 500 lobsters, which they fly in live from Boston, can be in line for the hot tub.

The lobster’s sweetness in the mac is paired with fresh corn off the cob, before the dish is garnished with toasted panko bread crumbs and parsley.

But…I don’t eat lobster.

It’s not that I’m afraid of lobster, we just have a complicated relationship.

So, I asked reporter Rachel Slavik, who’s established herself as one of WCCO-TV’s preeminent fair-food eaters, to sit in as taste tester.

Her first words after trying the Smack Shack mac were: Oh. My. Gosh.

“[Customers] eat it, and they just close their eyes,” Thoma said. “And so, I know, I know when we do it right, which we always do, it’s perfect.”

The full-size lobster mac and cheese at Smack Shack is $14. They also do a plain version and one with bacon that you can get during happy hour for just $5.

(Insider Tip: You can also find Smack Shack’s mac and cheese on the menu at the 1029 Bar in Northeast Minneapolis.)

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