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Out to eat: Mooney’s stuffed pepper mac and cheese a Buffalo crossover classic

Mooney’s Sports Bar & Grill proclaims that it’s “not your average sports bar,” a claim that’s as rare as pitcher specials in the fan-feeding industry.

At Mooney’s, though, the menu follows through. Sure, there’s chicken finger subs and pizza logs. Yet the obligatory fish fry is joined by one baked with Greek spices, spinach and feta, burgers come topped with corned beef or peanut butter and jelly, and beef on weck is available in the form of a hybrid pizza.

I’m not sure how many sports bars serve lobster macaroni and cheese, but I’m sure I haven’t seen any go mac mad quite like Mooney’s. “We do get quite a few rants and raves in regard to that – lobster mac is one of our best sellers,” said Jake Skowron, kitchen manager at the Depew restaurant (4628 Broadway, Depew, 681-2121), the third location in the Mooney’s group. (The other locations are at 83 Niagara St., Tonawanda, 692-1000, and 1531 Military Road, Kenmore, 877-1800,

There are nine types of macaroni and cheese on the menu at all three locations, including lobster, taco, Philly cheesesteak and Buffalo chicken. But Mooney’s stuffed pepper macaroni and cheese is even more popular as a Buffalo crossover classic.

The stuffed peppers, semi-spicy Hungarian yellow chiles filled with a cheese mixture, are available elsewhere on the menu. In the mac and cheese department, they’re roasted, then chopped and tumbled with elbow macaroni before being run under the broiler for a bubbly brown topcoat.

The cheese mixture includes Parmesan and romano, cream cheese and blue cheese. Unlike many stuffed pepper fillings, there’s no sausage in the mix, making it fine for vegetarians.

It’s $5.99 for a side. A whole order, a big bowl that could probably feed two, is $10.99. “The portions are something we’re known for,” Skowron said.

If that doesn’t satisfy your mac and cheese needs, Mooney’s is prepared to sell you a full tray at a time, for $86.99. “Takeout is a good portion of our business,” Skowron said.


Foodie find:

Taste of Education. Salvatore’s Italian Gardens (6461 Transit Road, Depew), 6 to 9 p.m. today. Culinary students from Medina, Angola and Sanborn will feed you stuff like smoked duck, sopes, fresh herbed ricotta, fried cheesecake drops and jalapeño pineapple sorbet under the watchful eyes of their instructors. There’s an Iron Chef-type competition, raffles and more, and it raises money for culinary student scholarships. Tickets are $20 at the door or at Pizza Plant (7770 Transit Road, Amherst).

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