I Heart Mac n’ Cheese, a chain restaurant that serves specialty macaroni and cheese dishes, opened its first location in North Carolina last month, and the QCity Metro team stopped by to give it a try.
While it may seem that a restaurant centered entirely around one item wouldn’t have much variety, I Heart Mac n’ Cheese offers a range of original dishes, like its “build your own bowl” feature where guests can customize their bowl with sauces, proteins veggies and more; as well as a few creative takes on the classic grilled cheese sandwich.
The QCity team visited the restaurant for lunch one day; here’s what we thought.
Setting the scene
The restaurant wasn’t very packed when we went; however, this was after the lunch rush, at around 2 pm. If you’re going with a large group, check the weather first, as the largest tables are outside.
Inside the restaurant, seating mainly consists of tables for two along a wall.
The décor inside is bright and gives the restaurant a trendy, vibrant feel.
Expectations and service
The service was amazing. Despite our large group, our orders were made quickly and efficiently. Since it was everyone’s first time, the server explained our options and made recommendations to help us narrow our choices.
We tried the “best of both worlds” sandwiches (the vegan and beef versions), which were well received. The best of the both worlds sandwich combines classic macaroni and cheese with pulled barbecue that’s then packed into a classic grilled cheese on thick-cut bread.
The classic macaroni and cheese bowl was also good and allowed for much customization. One person added grilled chicken that was well seasoned and blended nicely in to the bowl. Another team membered order the lobster mac, a recommendation from one of the staff members. The lobster mac n’ cheese left a little to be desired due to the sauce. Overall, the lobster mac wasn’t a favorite.
We also tried some of the dessert, like the cookies and the cheesecake bites. The cheesecake bites were topped with powdered sugar and came with a sweet strawberry dipping sauce. The cookies were really good too, and were soft-baked and served in a 20oz cup that was a nice touch. The cookies were perfect for bite-sized enjoyment.
Overall, I Heart Mac n’ Cheese is an excellent stop for lunch. Though macaroni and cheese is a pretty niche specialty, the menu offers variety from sandwiches, grilled cheeses and even empanadas.
One downside for our team was the drive. Because it’s in Matthews, it was a bit of a distance from the QCity office in west Charlotte; however, if you’re nearby, this place could become a pleasant lunchtime or quick dinner favorite.
The “it’: The best of both worlds sandwich, the build your own mac n’ cheese, the lobster mac n cheese.
Overall score: 3.4/5, an average of 2.5, 2.7, 4.1, and 4.5 from the team.
Price: About $15 per person
What we loved: The restaurant’s atmosphere, customer service