STACKED Sets the Bar at San Diego Mac N Cheese Fest Marie Spada and Madeline Craig November 6, 2015 Spread the loveLobster Mac N Cheese is a Key Contender for Best Cheesy Dish Written by: Marie Spada STACKED Sets the Bar at San Diego Mac N Cheese Fest Photographed by: Madeline Craig If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that few things are more satisfying than some excellent comfort food—more specifically, macaroni and cheese. Imagine a place where you could try several different kinds of macaroni and cheese, drink beer and vote on your favorite dish. Sound too good to be true? Well, this event exists. November 7, 2015 marks the first annual San Diego Mac N Cheese Fest at Waterfront Park, going on from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $35 and they cover macaroni and cheese tastings as well as 10 beer tastings. Festival goers must be 21 or older to attend the event. STACKED: Food Well Built is one contender for best mac and the team is ready to win. STACKED has figured out how to make tastebuds happy and their entry in the San Diego Mac n’ Cheese Fest is sure to be a crowdpleaser. Co-Founder Paul Motenko and Executive Chef Javier Navarro agree that to make the best mac and cheese, it’s all about having great ingredients, amazing flavors and a little something special to take it to the next level. STACKED’s sauce combines the tangy flavor of Romano cheese with the smooth, mildly smoky flavor of smoked gouda. The sauce showcases some cheesy excellence while complementing the sweetness of the—wait for it—lobster. Yep, you read that right. Lobster macaroni and cheese. Combine these yummy ingredients with garlic, tomato, basil, green onions, and Parmesan breadcrumbs on top, and you have yourself some blue ribbon mac and cheese. (Wait, can they bring some by the office afterwards?) When STACKED was invited to compete in the macaroni and cheese competition, Chef Navarro couldn’t wait for the challenge. Motenko and Navarro are confident that their amazing sauce combined with their sweet lobster is the perfect combination to take home first place, and believe me, so do we. Though he loves his entry in the San Diego competition, Chef Navarro’s personal favorite and must-try item at STACKED is the Cajun Shrimp Mac ‘N’ Cheese. Going to STACKED is a dream because orders are made to every customer’s unique wants and needs. Though this is a full-service restaurant, guests place an order on the iPad provided at the table, choosing between five categories: burgers, pizza, salad, sandwiches, and of course, macaroni and cheese. While STACKED offers signature creations, diners can mix ingredients, fashioning personalized recipes. Dietary restrictions? No problem! Motenko encourages diners to speak with a manager or any of the concierges to let them know of any dietary concerns so that they can be accommodated. The STACKED menu features 159 gluten-free ingredients (celiac sufferers rejoice!). All of this freedom allows people to enjoy a unique experience and provides even the pickiest of eaters with the perfect meal. When they came up with this create-your-own concept in early 2009, Motenko and co-founder Jerry Hennessy were unsure of how to execute this plan without making it a cumbersome ordering process for their guests. Fortunately for STACKED, the iPad arrived, streamlining the entire ordering process while giving the team a full view of STACKED’s potential. What the team at STACKED wants you to know, though, is that their restaurant is full service. If you don’t feel comfortable ordering from the iPad, that’s okay. Simply place your order with one of the concierges, who are there to guarantee excellence in hospitality. Hosts and hostesses will greet you at the door and there is a full team to ensure a delicious experience. With freedom in creativity for the guests, STACKED went out of its way to make sure that the ambiance exudes originality as well. With beautiful wooden floors, hand-blown glass and funky art on the walls, STACKED fosters an environment that truly showcases their dedication to creativity in all areas. Their goal was to create a space that was fun and casual with a unique twist that spoke to their playful and unique concept. Their laidback style with a quirky feel also influences the menu, and their Lobster Mac ‘N’ Cheese is no exception. To get your sample of the soon-to-be award winning STACKED Mac, don’t miss the first annual San Diego Mac N Cheese Fest on November 7th. Shiver Me Timbers: The floors at STACKED are created from the wood of an old ship! Talk about up-cycling! Location, Location, Location: STACKED has four restaurants, including one at the Fashion Valley Mall in San Diego, plus Cerritos, Torrance and Thousand Oaks, with more on they way. STACKED 18425 Gridley Rd. Cerritos, CA 90703 714.328.3273 | www.stacked.com L O B S T E R /// Mac N Cheese. ‘Nuff Said. STACKED is Bringing Serious Competition to This Year’s San Diego Mac N Cheese Fest.