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Last Update: Jan 7th, 2023
I Heart Mac and Cheese

I Heart Mac & Cheese

1489 A-B SE 17 Street
Fort Lauderdale FL, 33316
Overall Rating
2.1
Food
Service
Ambiance
Value
Last Review
04/22/2016

Details

Attire: Casual
Parking: Private Lot
CC: Yes
Alcohol: Beer and wine
Outside Dining: Yes
Reservations: No
Delivery: No

Pros

Free Parking
Attractive Restaurant

Cons

Salad Bar Food
Mystery Cheese Ruins the Concept

Critic's Review

There's a new "restaurant" in town specializing in Macaroni and Cheese and here is my review. Has it really come to this?

From the stupid name of the restaurant to the web site in "maintenance mode' to the goofy menu they originally posted; let's just say my expectations were low. But it's only $3.49 for a bowl of basic Mac & Cheese, so it was a cheap adventure.

It was 1:45 so I first walked over to the Marina Deli to check out the crowd; I was kind of surprised to see the place was dead empty. Get your pastrami now; it's going to be a long summer for those folks. Most of the old H&E Deli regulars are likely dead.

This place had a good crowd; they just opened Monday. I think you can serve bait and have a good crowd in a new restaurant the first couple of weeks. The lack of restaurant prowess started right away; there are menus and little golf card pencils when you walk in, but nobody to tell you how the thing works. You're SUPPOSED to fill this out before you get to the counter, but I didn't see anyone actually do it.

The "chef specials" were kind of weird; I get the lobster mac and cheese, but how does a cuban sandwich fit in? There's no bacon on a Cuban, so it wasn't real anyway.

There's a menu on the wall, but it doesn't have all of the ingredients. I saw pepperoni and diced ham. but it wasn't on the wall menu. It couldn't be $4.95 for some pepperoni, right? Wrong.

There were only 3 people in front of me, but it still took at least 10 minutes to get to the counter. Not a very smooth operation.

The problem with this "idea" is that the add-ons are too expensive. $5.00 to add a hot dog or some diced ham to my $3.49 mac and cheese? That's absurd. I decided to just try the mac and cheese, since that was the foundation of the concept.

I heart Mac & Cheese Wall Menu

The slowness of the operation allowed me to get a firm grip on how the whole thing works. It all starts with big tubs full of pre-cooked elbow macaroni.

I heart Mac & Cheese main ingredient

There's a big pot of mystery cheese behind against the wall; a bowl of macaroni gets a ladle of the milky cheese, rendering something reminiscent of the Velveeta mac and cheese from our childhood. They then add the toppings, with whatever "other" cheese you choose on top.

I heart Mac & Cheese Add Ons

The secret to the operation is the Ovention conveyor oven, which does the cheese melting magic that seals all of the ingredients together. Genius if you ask me.

Cheese Warming System

So I finally got to place my order; their original menu offered you 3 cheeses on your mac and cheese, but now they're charging $1 each. It seemed like a better idea when I was getting a blend of cheeses, but I'm not paying $3 for 3 pinches of cheese. So I just went for cheddar.

As with all of the no-service restaurants, you fetch your own silverware. They have some fancy containers for all of the extras.

Self Service Utensils

I grabbed a table and waited. It's actually a much nicer restaurant than I expected.

I heart Mac and Cheese Counter

Waiting and waiting. Watching all of the people who actually agreed to go out for Mac & Cheese for lunch was somewhat entertaining.

I heart Mac & Cheese Inside

Waiting and waiting. After 15 minutes I'm thinking to myself; they could have made this for me while I was standing at the register, why was it taking so long. The operation is a disaster. Someone who came in after me got her's first. How is that possible? Nothing I ordered had to be prepared.

One bowl came out for the 2 guys who were right before me. Just one of the 2 orders. So one guy started eating while the other guy waited. It's a great system.

Tick, tock. Tick tock.

Waiting Over 20 minutes

Finally, a runner brought it out.

I heart Mac & Cheese Main Event

I literally almost laughed out loud. Are you KIDDING me? After getting a photo, I seriously considered just leaving without eating any of it. This reminded me of the first time I made Mac & Cheese for myself. A bit too much milk. Not really cheesy enough.

"Award Winning" Mac and Cheese

I tasted it and it was pretty nothing. Over-cooked noodles, little blips of cheddar along with the mystery cheese sauce. This was much worse than the stuff on the buffet at the Golden Corral.

About 60 cents worth of food in a bowl

The guy at the next table got basically what I did with some pretzels on top. Maybe I should have gone for the complimentary goldfish?

Conclusion

This place reminds me of Italio without the red sauce options. Pre-Over-Cooked macaroni with a mystery cheese sauce is a bad start to a bowl of stuff; The false premise that this stuff is somehow "award winning" is sort of comical; any place in town has a better version of mac and cheese. If this was truly unique it might be interesting, but $10 for this slop with a hot dog in it is a losing proposition, even in culinary challenged Fort Lauderdale.

Comment Policy Add Comment
Administrator
Reply
So the example location has closed down; meanwhile he's found suckers all over the country to buy franchises. Parkland is already closed.
Joey Smalls
Reply
Selling franchises is a better business than selling the actual product. Look at applebees and subway. The product sucks, but they are everywhere.
Administrator
Reply
Midici's is a prime example. They sold franchises before they had a test store open; total marketing. A bunch of them closed pretty quickly. This is a pretty low investment; Midici's is like $700K.
Administrator
Reply
How does an always empty, bad restaurant sell franchises all across the country? Marketing.
Stacy
Reply
Lots of 5 star reviews for a restaurant that's ALWAYS EMPTY.
Administrator
Reply
If you check out their web page they have photos of some of the other locations. They look like dumps. Not nearly as nice as the "model" restaurant. A lot of people are going to lose their money on this idea.
Jack
Reply
Some fool opened one of these in Parkland. Did they taste the food first? The big pull of the concept is that you don't need a hood or grease trap because it's all electric. I guess some people find that appealing.

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