With stints working at Microsoft and BET, blogging for Essence Magazine, and an album release with Grammy award-winning musicians, it’s clear—Kelly Chapman does a little bit of everything. But if you’ve had the chance to drop by the new Mac-o-licious restaurant in Valley Village (formerly a food truck), you’ll quickly come to understand that Chapman has first and foremost perfected the art of Southern baked, casserole-style mac ‘n’ cheese. On behalf of the San Fernando Valley, we salute you for your good deeds (and homemade cornbread!). While she’s no longer a traveling songstress, Chapman filled us in on some of her favorite dinner spots to grab a meal and hear some live music.
Vibrato Grill Jazz
“As a singer I used to perform in jazz clubs, so eating here brings back good memories. They always have a trio or quartet playing. Both the music and the ambiance are amazing. I’m a big fan of American food. I like steak, potatoes, asparagus and corn, and they do a really nice job or preparing all of those things. So when I want to take off my jeans, throw on a dress, and go some place where I can relax, you’ll see me at Vibrato.”
“One of the reasons why I started this business is because I wasn’t able to find the Southern baked style of mac ‘n’ cheese I like. But I finally found the spot! Rocco’s version has six different cheeses, with a hint of bacon. It’s baked and they layer cheese on top, so you’re getting a ton of cheese. And the consistency of a baked casserole reminds me of home. So when I’m not eating mac ‘n’ cheese at my own restaurant, I’m probably eating it here [laughing].”
The Federal Bar
“I like to go here for a low-key night and to do some people watching. I really enjoy their bleu cheese sliders. I’ll just get those with some fries and head home.”
“They have a piano area and I’ve even gotten up and sang with the pianist before. They have white table cloths and an outdoor area too. Definitely a nice place to take your date. It’s the type of spot where everybody knows your name. And they do the simple things right: NY strip steak, bacon wrapped shrimp. I’ve even ordered a pot of their candied yams for Thanksgiving!”
“I always take out of town guests here. They have some of the most unique seafood and protein dishes. Everything comes off the grill and it tastes so good. Best of all, I can still get my favorite dishes here: beef, corn, asparagus, and potatoes.”