After six months of pop-ups under the moniker Mix & Mac, Bay Area natives Jason Brown and Chen-Chen Huo are opening MAC’D, a brick and mortar restaurant serving mac and cheese in the Marina. The space is 3347 Fillmore Street, the former home of Gypsy Darling and Elena Una, and a grand opening is set for July 14.
The MAC’D concept, and menu, are simple: Customers design their own mac & cheese however they wish. There’s nothing else offered, although Huo and Brown have applied for a beer and wine license.
MAC’D is still fundraising via IndieGoGo and several thousand dollars short of its $10,000 goal. Nonetheless, it’s signed a lease, which is good until at least the end of the year. After that, plans are in the works to redevelop the building to add housing, which would send MAC’D packing.
With MAC’D, Huo and Brown see an opportunity to hop aboard the fast-casual bandwagon. “Fast-casual is trending in the food industry, especially do-it-yourself and build-your-own,” says Brown. “There are a lot of different types out there, whether it’s poke, burritos, or pizza, but we feel that this is an easy canvas for every person’s creativity, because mac is such an accessible food. You can’t really go wrong with what you put into it.”
At MAC’D Customers start by choosing from a variety of béchamel-based sauces, like the #Basic (classic cheddar), Frenchie (French onion soup), or the Tailgate (beer and bacon fat). Pasta choices are elbows, shells, or a gluten-free, low-carb cauliflower option. Next, customers select mix-ins, including vegetables and meat, followed by toppings from toasted breadcrumbs to hot Cheetos, truffle oil, or kimchi.
Every MAC’D combo is $10, except for “premium” toppings, like fried chicken or pulled pork from catering company Goldie’s Oakwood BBQ. Finally, MAC’D offers pre-made, grab-and-go options for those who don’t want to customize.
“[Mac and cheese] is such a comfort food,” adds Huo. “It stands for a lot of ideals that we believe in, two of them being bold and playful.” Of course, MAC’D won’t be the first San Francisco’s restaurant devoted to mac and cheese: That honor belongs to Mac Daddy, opened last year in Potrero Hill.