Chester's Kitchen and Bar in Rochester, Minnesota exterior of a restaurant
Chester’s Kitchen & Bar in Rochester, Minn.

I’m always on a quest to find the best mac and cheese in the U.S.. And am excited to share that I found a top contender close to home base for the best macaroni and cheese at Chester’s Kitchen & Bar in Rochester, Minn. It’s worth the 90-minute road trip from the Twin Cities for a fabulous foodie experience.

While offering to host us for dinner in exchange for sharing my experience at Chester’s Kitchen & Bar, all my opinions in this post are my own. I don’t hand out platitudes for just any mac and cheese. Chester’s Kitchen & Bar’s Lobster Mac “N” Cheese earned its place on my Quest for the Best Mac and Cheese in the U.S. list.

Please note that we were guests of Chester’s Kitchen & Bar in Rochester, Minn. in the fall of 2019; check their website for their latest updates regarding hours, restrictions and social-distancing guidelines.

This post contains recommended links to products and services. While you will not accrue any additional costs to support my blog, I may receive compensation if you purchase these products and services. Special thanks to Chester’s Kitchen & Bar for sponsoring our visit in exchange for an honest review of our experience.

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Lobster mac and cheese – it’s what’s for dinner

Whenever I see lobster mac and cheese on a menu, it’s pretty much a given I’m going to order it. Just ask my husband. Or my friends.

I had heard that Chester’s Lobster Mac “N” Cheese” was pretty good. I was not disappointed. In fact, their mac and cheese was beyond good and made it into my top five. This flavorful pasta dish features Maine lobster claw meat, aged cheddar, cream, caramelized shallots, a light bread crust and grilled ciabatta.

My only regret is that we were not staying longer in Rochester so that I could try some other dishes on Chester’s Kitchen & Bar menu. (My friends are laughing right now because they know I would still order the mac and cheese).

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Food envy – it’s a thing – but I’ll still order the mac and cheese

However, I do have a food envy problem when it comes to ordering. Food envy. It’s really a thing. So it was a good strategy that my mission at Chester’s Kitchen & Bar was for the sole purpose of enjoying some fabulous lobster mac and cheese.

Even when mac and cheese is on the menu, I typically see at least two other meal options that I’d like to try. And then I get a little panicky when it’s my turn to order. As I watch servers bring other guests their food, I say, “Oh, that looks good. I should have ordered that.” Destination Inspiration: Not sure where to go? You've come to the right place!

But that thought did not cross my mind this time. I definitely chose the right meal for me. I was very pleased with Chester’s Kitchen & Bar’s Lobster Mac “N” Cheese. And I would drive the 68 miles to Rochester again just to have their mac and cheese for dinner…or lunch…wonder if they serve it for breakfast?

Lobster mac and cheese leftovers

Our meals at Chester’s Kitchen & Bar also came with some warm bread and yummy butter. I’m all about the carbs – bread and pasta and I’m happy. And it was a generous portion. In fact, they boxed up about half of it for me (no Styrofoam…yay! So they get extra points). We had a refrigerator back in our room so was able to enjoy my mac and cheese the following day. My mac and cheese leftovers tasted just as delicious warmed up.

Chester’s Kitchen & Bar serves up a large portion of its delicious lobster mac and cheese. Come hungry or take leftovers with you. Bonus points for no Styrofoam.


What to eat at Chester’s Kitchen & Bar.: Mediterranean angel hair with salmon

My husband’s dinner at Chester’s Kitchen & Bar: Mediterranean angel hair with salmon

While I did not have a full-fledged food-envy episode at Chester’s Kitchen & Bar, I was admiring my husband Steve’s pasta dish from across the table: Mediterranean angel hair with salmon. Salmon is an additional add-on as is pulled chicken and grilled shrimp.

It too was very good (yes, I had a bite…possibly two). Chester’s Kitchen & Bar’s Mediterranean angel hair comes with roasted red peppers, garlic spinach, Kalamata olives, roasted tomatoes, shallots, oregano, olive oil, white wine, feta and grilled ciabatta bread.

Anyone else hungry now? It looks like a nice day for a road trip.

Where is Chester’s Kitchen & Bar in Rochester, Minnesota located?

Back in the day during normal times (photo taken fall of 2019): Chester’s Kitchen & Bar typically offers daily happy hours and late-night happy hours. Please check their website for the latest social-distancing guidelines.

We were staying at the Hilton Rochester Mayo Clinic Area hotel in Rochester, Minn., which just happened to be across the street from Chester’s Kitchen & Bar. (You can read about my red-carpet experience on That Traveling Chick’s website.)

Located in Rochester’s Shops at University Square at 111 South Broadway on the first floor, this upscale American fare venue is open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Chester’s Kitchen & Bar also has a happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. daily as well as a late-night happy hour 9 a.m. to midnight (1 a.m. on weekends). Again, please check Chester’s Kitchen & Bar’s website for the latest updates.

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Make reservations at Chester’s Kitchen & Bar for patio or indoor dining – social-distancing in place*

Everything about our visit at Chester’s Kitchen & Bar in Rochester, Minn. was perfect. I can see why it’s been voted as the best restaurant for several years. We arrived a few minutes early and were seated right away (recommend you make a reservation as Chester’s Kitchen & Bar does get busy). Our server was attentive and friendly, and our food was brought out promptly.

*Note: Please check Chester’s Kitchen and Bar website for the latest hours, seating arrangements and any restrictions due to the pandemic.

Friendly servers at Chester’s Kitchen & Bar – note that these photos were taken October 2019 (before the COVID-19 pandemic). Chester’s Kitchen & Bar is committed to operating their restaurant with the highest safety standards. All staff members are wearing face masks, maintaining six-feet distances and taking other safety precautions.

The space at Chester’s Kitchen & Bar was very open, yet cozy and intimate. We were seated in a booth with high backs and a boulevard of plants separating us from patrons sitting on the other side. I love restaurants with open kitchens – that type of transparency gives off good energy.

Several seating arrangements at Chester’s Kitchen & Bar are available including a roomy bench booth for a larger party

Additional menu items other than lobster mac and cheese at Chester’s Kitchen & Bar

While my husband and I happened to both order pasta, Chester’s Kitchen & Bar offers a wide variety of meal options. A few of the shared appetizers caught my eye: beef and amablue cheese fondue, cornbread skillet, and bacon mac and cheese balls. Seriously…is anyone up for a road trip to Rochester right now?

Chester’s Kitchen & Bar menu also offers flatbreads and starter salads. They even have one called, “I just want a small salad.” Every restaurant should have this on their menu.

Other dinner entrees at Chester’s Kitchen & Bar in Rochester, Minn. include healthy bowls of brown rice or quinoa, entrée salads (these are not just a small salad), soups, steaks, burgers (oh, there’s a cheesy mac and cheese burger as well as plant-based and turkey burgers), chicken, seafood, ribs, meatloaf and more.

You can find Chester’s Kitchen & Bar menus online or on their exterior wall.

Chester’s Kitchen & Bar special menus: brunch, lunch, kids, gluten-free, desserts, happy hour, cocktail bar

Check the Chester’s Kitchen & Bar website for any specialized menus for brunch ($12 bottomless mimosas) and lunch, kids, gluten-free, desserts, happy hour as well as a cocktail bar menu.  

How did I miss that you can order a flight of desserts at Chester’s Kitchen & Bar? If you have a dessert-envy problem, this is perfect: half-portions of banana cream pie, chocolate cake and bread pudding served with praline sauce and fresh whipped cream. Check Chester’s Kitchen & Bar for their latest menu options.

Chester’s Kitchen & Bar indoor and patio dining options

Chester’s Kitchen & Bar offers tables and booths in the main section as well as a semi-private dining area to one side along with bar seating and patio seating. The restaurant is adhering to all the recommended social-distancing guidelines such as maintaining a six-foot distance, wearing face masks, requiring reservations, and more.

Before the pandemic, you could also reserve a private dining room that seats up to 44 guests – perfect for business meetings, rehearsal dinners, birthday parties, etc. Hopefully, that day will come again soon.

Thanks again to Chester’s Kitchen & Bar in Rochester, Minn. for hosting us. We will return for more lobster mac and cheese! In fact, if the weather cooperates, I’m seeing a road trip down on Valentine’s Day for some take-out lobster mac and cheese from Chester’s Kitchen & Bar.

Chester’s Kitchen & Bar in Rochester has got my vote!

Chester’s Kitchen and Bar’s Lobster Mac “N” Cheese is now on my Best Mac and Cheese in the U.S. list. Check it out for other fabulous mac and cheeses across the U.S. Do you have a favorite? Please comment below so I can add it to my list.

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Twin Cities-based blogger sharing memorable emptynester, solo, family and girlfriend-getaway adventures, as well as my day hiking adventures (including all 66 Minnesota state parks), latest book reviews, and updates on my quest for the best adult mac and cheese. Also two WIPs: historical fiction and psychological thriller


  1. I had no idea food envy was a thing! lol We always order with the intention of sharing. I have gotten so used to it … 25 years now … I could not imagine doing it any other way! This place looks amazing!

  2. The macaroni and cheese looks amazing! It is an Achilles heel of mine. I will check this out when I am in Minnesota next.

  3. I am a sucker for Mac and Cheese, and this one sounds divine! I also love your list of top mac and cheeses. I may steal that idea for my blog, but with donuts instead! Now I’m starving.

  4. I can see why this was voted Rochester’s favorite restaurant. Looks like the mac n cheese was amazing as well as the other food choices.

  5. Great pics. Never been to Rochester but I am a lover of Mac & cheese. In my experience it’s hard to find that perfect balance with lobster mac. They are usually a little to salty for my taste. Call me old fashion I suppose

    1. I’m just like your kids…I want mac and cheese at all my meals also! The kids’ menu has just plain mac and cheese…and I’m sure you could order it without the lobster.

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