Boca Raton, Florida-based I Heart Mac & Cheese is hot for Houston, having just signed a development agreement to open its first area location.
The dairy-driven chain specializes in — you guessed it — macaroni and cheese bowls, served assembly-line style, as well as grilled cheese sandwiches.
Guests pick a pasta, bread, quinoa, broccoli or cauliflower base, along with seven proteins, vegetables, and cheeses. Gluten-free pasta is also available. Diners can doctor up their DIY orders with a flurry of sauces and dressings like sesame ginger, mango habanero, buffalo, and pesto.
Comfort foods include tomato soup, baked chicken or meatball Parmesan, pepperoni pizzas, and decadent lobster and white truffle mac. Keep the calories coming with mini chocolate chip cookies and marshmallow treats for dessert.
Each location has a small footprint — with no fryers, grease trap systems, or hood systems — so setups in mall kiosks or food courts are doable. Entrepreneur Magazine named the brand a top new franchise opportunity for 2019. There’s currently nine locations, sized between 750 to 1,800 square feet.
The fast-casual chain, started by chef Michael Blum in 2016, just opened its latest location in Tallahassee, Florida. There’s more en route to the Sunshine State, as well as across Georgia, New York, and Texas (Beaumont, College Station, Waco, and Lubbock, according to their website).
Stay tuned on the ETA and chosen location for Houston, which will be manned by MGM Real Estate & Investments. All neighborhoods in Houston are on the table, per a PR rep.