Joshua McBride, maitre d' at Larkin's, Larkin Mackey's beloved soul food establishment in Eagle Rock, says that Mackey plans to open a build-your-own mac 'n cheese bar on 8th and Broadway in downtown “by the end of the year.” While the Eagle Rock location will remain the sole (soul) source of Larkin Mackey's famous fried chicken and grit-laced brunch, the new location, which will be take-out and delivery only, will offer mac 'n cheese as well as an assortment of Mackey's (or Mackey's mother's) decadent desserts, sodas, beer and wine.

You'll get a choice of a goat cheese or a three cheese base for the macaroni, and a wealth of add-ons, such as lobster, bacon, fried chicken, black olives and collard greens. McBride says that they also plan to commission macaroni art, which will be auctioned off to raise funds for local non-profit art programs for kids. Mackey and McBride also have plans to open another location in Bakersfield, and eventually expand further across the country.

The only problem is, there's only one McBride. Before you smear your face with cornbread muffins, red beans and rice, and barbecued tri-tip, before you take your belt out a notch to make room for the peach cobbler with whipped cream, you're greeted at the front door of a wooden house with stained glass windows by McBride himself, welcoming you. Can't franchise that, although it would be nice if you could.

Larkin's: 1496 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock, (323) 254-0934

LA Weekly