Mac Daddy's in Georgetown, CT
Anyone try this place yet? It's in the space that was - most recently - Dona Marie's. Supposedly it's a macaroni and cheese restaurant - lots of different types, from traditional to "fancy" (lobster?) and a gluten-free pasta option for those who need it. I guess we haven't driven down Main St. recently, because I had no idea it had opened....
Would love to hear from any CHers who have tried it. Otherwise we'll make our way over there next week.
So we gave MacDaddy's Mac and Cheese Bar a try this evening. Interesting concept. Mixed execution.
First, the place is still owned by the folks that owned Donna Marie's. They said (to another patron - we were eavesdropping) that "the fine dining concept wasn't working in this area" so they switched to a different concept. The new place certainly wouldn't qualify as fine dining, but I'm not sure exactly what to call it.
We entered the restaurant and stood at what looks like (and, I think, used to be) the hostess station. We were waved over to the bar, above which is posted a sign that says "Place Your Order Here." The bartender (host? waiter? only employee???) handed us menus and said we should place our order with him and then sit anywhere we wanted and they would bring us our food. Unfortunately, the bar area is a little dark, so we had to take the menus back out to the hostess station area in order to read them easily.
The menu has a series of variations on macaroni and cheese, starting with traditional (mac and cheddar), moving through standard (chili, mac, and cheese), into sort of unusual (lobster, corn, asiago, macaroni). Served in a cast iron skillet, the dishes come in small, medium, and large. (Helpfully, the skillets were displayed on a table just inside the front door.) In addition to the variations on mac and cheese, there are two salads - the mac daddy salad (lettuce, tomato, grated cheese, and vinaigrette) or a Greek salad variation. Gluten-free pasta is available for all dishes for a $2 surcharge.
There is a full bar but the only non-alcoholic drinks offered are CANS of soda at $1.75 apiece (and I do mean cans - which is how they were served - without glasses and with straws...) and coffee and tea. I asked for iced tea and was told they don't have it. They did say they would be adding other drinks to the menu and were thinking about Arizona Iced Tea, Snapple, etc. (I voted for Snapple.) One of us had a beer and also was not offered a glass (which probably would have been turned down - but would it kill them to ask???).
After we ordered, we were handed a number to place on our table and we sat ourselves in the main dining room. The Donna Marie chairs have been replaced by bright orange plastic chairs. One wall is now covered in blackboard paint and chalk is available for kids who want to decorate the wall. The remaining walls are white, with orange accents (grates, light fixtures, etc.).
The bartender/waiter brought us water and silverware. He placed a black cloth napkin on the table and told us it was for the skillet (which, coming straight from the oven, are HOT!) and handed us paper napkins to use with our meal.
We had ordered the standard salad. At $7 it was large enough for two of us to share as an appetizer but not particularly exciting. Some romaine lettuce, about 3 or 4 cherry tomatoes, halved, and grated/shaved cheese. The salad was dressed (there didn't seem to be a choice of dressings) and he offered us fresh pepper at the table. It was exactly as it was described on the menu. No more, no less.
We both ordered seafood variations: the Shrimp alla something-or-other (with shrimp, asiago, and garlic) and the Mac Lobo (lobster, corn, asiago). When the skillets arrived at our table (and the food was REALLY HOT) the bartender/waiter made a point of saying that the lobster was fresh and shelled daily at the restaurant. I could taste the truth in that statement. But the dish was a little bland. Seemed to me it was missing something... I'll have to think about what. The shrimp dish was much better in flavor - the garlic really stood out - but the shrimp itself tasted as if it had been previously frozen.
Although our water glasses were refilled fairly often by the bartender/waiter, there was really no additonal "service." We weren't asked if we wanted anything else (well, there wasn't really anything else to have....) - but perhaps we would have ordered a second beer...and we sat and sat and sat after we finished and then finally realized we needed to walk back to the bar to pay. (Or, if they were planning to bring us a check, they certainly weren't in any rush to do so.)
The owner was in the main dining room toward the end of our meal. He glanced toward our table on his way out of the room, but did not bother to stop by and ask how we enjoyed our meal, nor did he take the time to clear our empty plates away from our table. We're pretty easygoing about things like that...but it seemed to us that if he was trying to make a go of a new restaurant he should have tried a little harder to "make nice."
During the conversation we overheard, the bartender/waiter mentioned that they were able to save money with the "order at the bar" system by cutting back on serving staff. Okay. I get that. We regularly enjoy lunch at Cosi, for example, where we order at the register, pay for our meal, and sit down to wait for it. But Mac Daddy's isn't quite sure if they want to be "order at the counter" (or, in this case, the bar) or if they want to be full service - and the split personality showed. I can't picture going there with my kids and standing at the bar (!!!) to order food...although I suppose we could sit down with the menus and then one of us could walk back over to the bar to place the order for the family. But if they don't want to have waitstaff, beyond bringing the meal to the table, then they have to make the restaurant more user-friendly (e.g. self-service water refills, extra napkins, silverware, etc.). This is halfway between the two and I don't think it works.
The mac & cheese variation concept isn't so bad. If this place were in the food court at the mall, for example, or in a college town, I think it could do quite well.
In Georgetown? I'm not so sure. Maybe with some tweaking of their formula and their menu...
In the meantime, it may not be so chow-worthy, but it wasn't terrible, either.
(I'll be recreating the shrimp dish at home this fall when the weather turns cold and we want something yummy and warm!)
I am sorry to hear that "hungrykids" experience on July 27th was identical to mine a week or so earlier. This place will be gone and forgotten as soon as their lease is up. I agree with every bit of the above review. All I can add as a cook is what makes the food taste so bad but look so good on paper.
First the Mac: The noodles are cheap flavorless (a better quality and larger noodle would help).
Second the prep: The cheap little noodles are pre boiled to death likely 10 pounds at a time pot. in a huge pot of water, Left cold somewhere near the prep station which has all of the toppings ready to go (think ice cream topping station).
Third the cooking: Customer "A" orders Lobster Mac the kitchen springs into action. Grabs a serving skillet scoops some soggy noodles in and plops some Lobster Mac Sauce on top, then this luke warm pile is "flashed" and served.
To do it properly at home you would want to undercook the noodle , add to hot sauce and either bake or finish in a saute pan.over a flame They will never do either one.
Solution: download their menu and make it at home with better ingredients and TLC.