Best Bets: Lobster Mac and Cheese

MICHAEL DONAHUE/The Commercial Appeal
Lobster mac and cheese is a popular dish and a main course unto itself at Local.

Photo by Michael Donahue // Buy this photo

MICHAEL DONAHUE/The Commercial Appeal Lobster mac and cheese is a popular dish and a main course unto itself at Local.

“Cast Iron Mac and Cheese” on the menu at Local Gastropub doesn’t mean you have to have a cast iron stomach to eat it; the dish comes in a cast iron ramekin.

You can order plain macaroni and cheese, but I tried the one with lobster. When I asked my server, Diana Fazio, what she thought about it, she said, “It is decadent.”

It was. Good-sized chunks of tasty lobster were in the creamy macaroni and cheese, which resulted in a rich, great-tasting meal. I was going to order a hamburger, too, but this was enough. This is something I easily could eat a few times a week.

Derk Meitzler, general manager and chef at Local, came up with the basis for the lobster mac and cheese at his old restaurant, On Teur. He made crawfish mac and cheese there as well as Cafe 61, where he was executive chef/owner. He said he “changed it up a little bit” when he got to Local.

For his crawfish mac and cheese, Meitzler used cheddar. Now, he uses Gouda and mozzarella.

The lobster mac and cheese is “very popular,” Meitzler said. He loves it, too, but “not as much as the kids,” he said, referring to his children. They love macaroni and cheese, period. He’s also got “a cupboard full of Kraft macaroni and cheese that they can do when I’m not around.”

Local owner Jeff Johnson is a “huge fan,” he said. It’s one of the Southern comfort foods, which include greens and cabbage.

His grandmother made macaroni and cheese. “Her twist was to cut up nice chunks of ham to go in there. This is our twist to make it different: lobster, truffle oil and Parmesan breadcrumbs to go on top.”

Local is at 2126 Madison; 901-725-1845; and at 95 South Main; 901-473-9573

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