By Sruthi Swami
When I was younger, my mom used to make me macaroni and cheese at least once a week. It was the blue box Kraft macaroni and cheese. The cheese that the macaroni comes with is likely toxic, so my mom used to make her own concoction of cheese instead. Since coming to college, I have been stuck buying my Kraft macaroni and cheese and substituting the processed cheese with slices of American cheese, which is just not the same.
However, I recently made my way to Miss Mamie’s Spoonbread, a quaint little diner-looking restaurant on 110th street between Columbus and Manhattan Avenues. Having heard so much about their macaroni and cheese, I decided to go try some.
Squished between a pizza shop and a closed down store, I opened the front door and was transported straight to the 50’s. Spoonbread was well lit and friendly which was helped by the red and white color scheme of the entire place. A waitress immediately greeted me with a pleasant smile and took me to a table by the windows, giving me a menu as oldies hummed out of the speakers in the restaurant.
Spoonbread calls itself an authentic Southern restaurant, and much of their nourishment involves meat. As a vegetarian, it was hard for me to find meat-free options on the menu. So, I ordered what I could, which included macaroni and cheese, cornbread (which was free), and Spoonbread Punch. The cornbread and the punch were brought to me very soon after I had ordered and it tasted very refreshing and homey. The macaroni and cheese, took a while longer, as each dish was freshly made.
While waiting, I took the time to look at the rest of the restaurant. At the front was a counter filled with an assortment of desserts, most notably a red velvet cake that I will try when I go back. There were maybe 10 other people eating, which could signal bad business, but to me made the whole experience less stuffy and much more enjoyable. Because there weren’t too many people, the waitresses were kind and attentive, which put me at ease.
My macaroni and cheese finally arrived and I could not believe my eyes. It was not my mom’s macaroni, but something different. It was like the macaroni and cheese served in the Diana Center, only better looking, and tastier. Given to me in a shiny white bowl, the cheese was perfectly toasted on top, forming a crunchy contrast to the softness of the macaroni. Underneath the top cheese layer was the pasta itself bathed in melted cheese. The great thing was that the cheese was not melted to the extent that it was liquid and completely overwhelming the macaroni. This dish was heaven. It could have used a little bit more salt, but otherwise, it was perfect.
Spoonbread has catered at Barnard events before and now I understand why. The restaurant is a delightful gem housed in an area that seems to be very rarely frequented by the college community. This untouched quality in addition to the overall friendliness of the staff and its delicious macaroni and cheese makes it a must eat at place in my book.
Sruthi is a junior at Barnard she is also a staff writer for The Nine Ways of Knowing.