East Coast-Based Fast-Casual Mac and Cheese Brand Heads West, Entering the Lone Star State
Boca Raton, FL (RestaurantNews.com) I Heart Mac & Cheese, a fast-casual concept specializing in customizable, made-to-order macaroni and cheese bowls with a variety of health-conscious bases including quinoa, broccoli, cauliflower, and gluten free pasta; grilled cheese sandwiches and specialty salads, has announced it will enter the Texas market, signing a four store development agreement with Fidelity Enterprises LLC. The first of two College Station locations is expected to open this August, followed by Waco, and Lubbock which are all planning Q1 2020 openings. The same group is expected to develop an additional 20 locations throughout Texas.
“This agreement is monumental for the I Heart Mac & Cheese brand and we believe that, in aligning with Fidelity Enterprises LLC, we have the perfect partner and plan for future expansion,” said Stephen Giordanella, I Heart Mac & Cheese, CEO and chairman.
The Fidelity Enterprises team includes two husband and wife duos, Thomas and Megan Doyel and Jerry and Laura Livingston. Driving operations for the group will be restaurant industry veteran Thomas Doyel, who has worked with numerous concepts in Central and East Texas, including Raising Cane’s and Chipotle, managing 10 to 12 restaurants at any given time.
“We are very excited to become part of the I Heart Mac & Cheese family and cannot wait to introduce this unique concept to our area, beginning with our College Station location,” said Doyel. “The I Heart Mac & Cheese concept is one-of-a-kind, offering a grown-up approach to a classic childhood comfort food. We are excited to create remarkable experiences for our guests across the state of Texas.”
I Heart Mac & Cheese is well-known for custom, build-your-own macaroni and cheese bowls, grilled cheese sandwiches and salads. Guests select a pasta, bread, quinoa, broccoli, cauliflower or salad base along with seven different proteins, vegetables, and cheeses. Gluten-free options are also available. Sesame ginger, mango habanero, buffalo, BBQ, and pesto are a few of the delicious dressings and sauces available to mix in or top off each creation. In addition to customized options, the menu includes specialty chef special items like Baked Chicken Parmesan, Baked Meatball Parmesan, The Cuban, Pepperoni Pizza, and Lobster & White Truffle Mac, among others. Pair your meal with the perfect side of Tomato Soup and finish it with a selection of desserts such as Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies, Brownies, and Marshmallow Treats.
A unique franchise concept in the restaurant industry with no fryers, grease trap systems or hood systems, I Heart Mac & Cheese requires a low investment and can be opened in a small space, such as a mall kiosk or food court. Shopping malls, sports venues, areas close to colleges and universities, and high-traffic pedestrian areas are also ideal locations. With a home office in South Florida, I Heart Mac & Cheese offers franchise owner training, marketing support and ongoing development opportunities to ensure each location’s success. Last month, I Heart Mac & Cheese was ranked by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the top new franchise opportunities in 2019.
About I Heart Mac & Cheese
I Heart Mac & Cheese is a fast-casual concept specializing in customizable, made-to-order macaroni and cheese bowls, grilled cheese sandwiches and salads. Also, on the menu are lifestyle choices with quinoa, broccoli and cauliflower bowls. The menu combines award-winning recipes resulting in a grown-up approach to this classic childhood dish. The first location opened in 2016 in Fort Lauderdale. South Florida locations include Pembroke Pines, Jupiter, Coral Springs and Boca Raton. Additional locations are slated to open in New York, Florida and Georgia. In 2017, the company launched its franchising program nationwide and has franchisee locations in Florida and New York.
Rachel Tabacnic / Lacey Outten