The Cheesy Skillet, located in the Topsham Fair Mall. Eric Russell/Press Heraldl

TOPSHAM — First, I’d like to apologize to any vegans or lactose intolerant readers for the graphic content that follows.

“The Cheesy Skillet” is a new, not-quite-fast-food lunch option that leans heavy – and unapologetically – on the dairy.

Chef Danny Caron, a longtime teacher at The Green Ladle, the culinary arts program at Lewiston Regional Technical Center, opened two locations in Auburn and Topsham last year and has plans to expand to as many as 10.

On a recent Friday, I chose the Topsham spot, which is tucked between a guitar shop and a laundromat in the Topsham Fair Mall, a sprawling retail area of mostly local shops, chain restaurants and big box-type stores.

The space (which previously housed a Little Caesar’s franchise) is small – just enough room for a line of customers and a handful of high-top tables. The dozen or so people I watched come in and out all took their orders to go.

The menu is more expansive than I thought but not exactly diverse. Cheese is the star, by design. There is an item called the Cheesorito (a cheesy macaroni burrito stuffed with tater tots, bacon and cheese sauce for $15.25) and another called Mac Attack (which appears to be a grilled cheese, except the sandwich filling is macaroni and cheese, for $12).


In hindsight, it might not be the worst idea to get medical clearance before visiting The Cheesy Skillet.

On top of the specialty meals, there are several sandwich options and eight varieties of macaroni and cheese bowls. The best part about the bowls is that you can get the regular size or the mini version, a great option for people who have normal appetites or don’t want to lug home any leftovers.

The buffalo mac bowl at The Cheesy Skillet in Topsham. Eric Russell/Press Herald

Not wanting to spend the rest of the day with a stomachache, I ordered the mini version of the buffalo mac bowl.

It arrived in about 10 minutes, a tidy quart-sized cardboard container full of cavatappi pasta in creamy sauce, topped with chunks of buffalo chicken and crumbles of bleu cheese.

I picked up the bowl and I swear it weighed five pounds. This was the mini version, too. I had two questions: 1. How much cheese is in there? And 2. Am I going to regret this?

The pasta in sauce was rich and tasty and paired well with the buffalo chicken. I didn’t need the bleu cheese, but overall, it was a solid dish of warm, creamy comfort food. Not exactly fine dining, but a good lunch option that’s not a burger or sandwich or salad.

At $9 for the mini size, it was also a good value. The regular size is $14 and probably best suited for sharing. You can get a bowl with pulled pork on top, braised beef, creamy chicken alfredo, even lobster.

The biggest challenge, though, was eating out of the narrow bowl without spilling any over the side. I lost that challenge, if anyone is keeping score.

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