MILWAUKEE — Cheesy delicious goodness awaits you at the all-new Mac Shack off Brady Street in Milwaukee. It's a gourmet mac and cheese restaurant at 1701 N. Humboldt Ave.
"I just wanted to make mac and cheese a little more fun," co-owner Chela Maldonado-Perez said.
On the menu are items like the Greek Freak, a Giannis inspired dish, Meatball Mac, which features large delicious meatballs, the Brady Street which includes chili, and so many more. If they all look good to you, order a mac and cheese flight. But if you are craving your own concoction, you can make your own bowl.
"Mac and cheese is just - it screams family. You can have mac and cheese in the summer, but it's also a winter meal as well," Maldonado-Perez said.
The store was a long-time coming. The development took about five to six years, which includes the two years they owned the physical storefront.
"People have to keep in mind that we did build this out from scratch, so this was a complete white box," she said.
It took a while for the idea to really come into fruition, but once they secured the building, various issues arose. Then COVID-19 hit, which resulted in permit and contractor issues. It's all still affecting them even though they are officially open.
"We still have food order delays. We still have workers that can't come. We still have a staff shortage, so we're just working through it, so that’s when we decided just to open."
Reception has been good so far. Customers were already lining up to get inside, even though it's just the restaurant's soft launch. For the week of Aug. 2, Mac Shack is open from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. There are plans to extend business hours, so stay tuned on their Facebook page for when that will happen. Maldonado-Perez said they will be open until 4 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.
"We’ve been working on this for five to six years, so that's telling people we’ve been - you know, saying 'hey I'm opening up a mac and cheese restaurant and it not opening,' so now it just means - I'm proud," she said.
This idea to open the restaurant originated relatively spontaneously. Maldonado-Perez, a self-described foodie, would cook and post food on social media. She was reached out to by her now business partner to see if she wanted to open a restaurant together. Long story short, she said yes.
"I'm a foodie, so I’m constantly posting food, and I cook as well. So I'm constantly posting food on Facebook. He just messaged me and said, 'hey I like what you post. Do you want to partner up with me and open up a restaurant?'"
The journey was long, but all worth it in the end for the cheesy deliciousness they now cook up in their restaurant.