Mac & Melts Serves Up The Ultimate Comfort Foods

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The homey interior of Mac & Melts (All photos by Dave Gil de Rubio unless otherwise noted)

In this day and age of fast casual food, macaroni and cheese has been elevated far beyond its pre-fabricated Kraft origins. Look no further than Garden City’s Mac & Melts, which is celebrating its fourth anniversary.

Located in a strip at 684 Stewart Ave., this cheerful and bright 1,300-square foot eatery boasts 15 different variations of mac and cheese, ranging from the basic All American (combo of Wisconsin Sharp and Wisconsin Aged Cheddar Cheese) to more exotic versions like Pesto Chicken Mac and Cheese (Buttermilk fried chicken, pesto sauce with Wisconsin cheddar and mozzarella), Veg Head (broccoli, tomatoes, zucchini, roasted red peppers, creamy goat cheese), the South Philly (shaved roast beef, mushrooms, onions, roasted red peppers and homemade Cheese Whiz) and Make Shroom (sautéed mushrooms, aged Gouda, Gruyère and truffle oil drizzle).

The Short Rib Mac (braised short rib with Wisconsin sharp cheddar) is particularly stellar. Like the other types of mac and cheese, it features that fine line of mouth-watering characteristics endemic to this kind of culinary brilliance—a crunchy crust that covers al dente elbow macaroni and top-grade cheeses that maintain a gooey consistency that avoids any kind of wateriness. The ribs further imbue the dish’s textures with flavors that seep into every bite.

If you choose to dine in, there is an M&M Sampler consisting of the All American, Make Shroom, Alpine (Hormel bacon, Gruyère, caramelized onions and smoked Gouda), 5 Cheese (smoked mozzarella, aged Gouda, Wisconsin sharp cheddar, Wisconsin aged cheddar, Gruyère), cheeseburger, Southwestern (Wisconsin aged cheddar, pepper jack cheese, jalapeño, Andouille sausage topped with crushed tortilla chips), Buffalo chicken (buttermilk fried chicken, tomato, celery, Wisconsin aged cheddar, Wisconsin blue cheese, Frank’s Buffalo hot sauce, topped with crushed tortilla chips) and short rib.

The other half of the store’s names are its array of melts including the Classic Wisconsin Melt (a smooth blend of Wisconsin’s finest mild and aged cheddars on Pullman bread and grilled to perfection), the Mac & Melt (deep-fried mac & cheese, aged cheddar stuffed between two slices of Pullman bread, topped with homemade sun-dried tomato pesto) and the Dirty Tuna Melt (tuna salad prepared with diced celery, green apples, sliced jalapeños, crushed potato chips and pepper Jack cheese on sourdough).

Those not wanting to take the carnivore’s plunge can sup on the Mama Luke (grilled portobello mushroom, zucchini, roasted red peppers, onions, fresh mozzarella, arugula, pesto and balsamic drizzle on ciabatta with a fried egg available to add). There is also the option to add caramelized onions, sliced tomato and bacon to the already delicious proceedings. Recently added to the menu are wraps and a tomato bisque brimming with the kind of subtle rich flavor that allows it to avoid having a pedestrian experience with what can oftentimes wind up being a one-note kind of soup. As for the wrap options, while the BLT, avocado, pesto and buffalo are solid entries on this menu, every bite of the turkey pastrami wrap tickles the taste buds as the mash-up of Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and Russian dressing blend beautifully with the kosher namesake meat used for this dish.

Mac & Melts is located at 684 Stewart Ave. in Garden City

Mac & Melts proprietor Richard Yorke is a Jericho resident who has been turning the masses onto this twist on an American classic with a major assist from his octogenarian father Mel. Fresh ingredients that are made-to-order are the hallmark of the business and extend to using gluten-free pasta. There is also an extensive catering menu available. And if you somehow have room for dessert, PBNJ, which is deep-fried creamy peanut butter, bananas, Nutella and grape jelly on Pullman topped with Cool Whip and chocolate syrup, awaits.

To find out more about Mac & Melts, call 855-622-6358 or visit macnmelts.com.

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In addition to being editor of Garden City Life and Syosset-Jericho Tribune, Dave Gil de Rubio is a regular contributor to Long Island Weekly, specializing in music and sports features. He has won several awards for writing from Press Club of Long Island (PCLI).

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