2311 W. North
The first time I visited the Handlebar, my former roommate ordered the “Meal of Three Sides.” But instead of mixing them up like any sane person would, he adamantly rolled with three sides of the smoked Gouda mac ’n’ cheese. “Best in the city,” he said confidently, handing his unread menu back to the server. Well, he was on to something. With its vegetarian-friendly comfort fare and unpretentious, cyclist-friendly atmosphere, the Handlebar’s now a regular haunt—and I order the mac ’n’ cheese every time I go. Too many highly touted mac ’n’ cheeses are dependent on mix-ins, but this one stands on its own. It’s rich and creamy, with a decadent wet consistency that would lead me to slurp from the dish if it wasn’t for these damn manners. The smokiness of the cheese isn’t lost in the preparation, and the aroma often enshrouds the table, attracting multiple forks that aren’t mine.