Macs N’ Melts
Gourmet Macaroni & Grilled Cheese
3330 W. Central Ave.
Toledo, OH 43606
The Short Course
To avoid wait: Anytime
Noise level: Moderate
Bathroom amenities: No changing stations
High chairs? Yes
Got milk? Yes, Horizon organic milk and Honest Juice
Kids’ menu? Yes
Food allergy concerns? Food is prepared right in front of you at time of order. Be sure to make the employees aware of any allergies so precautions can be made during prep
A recent article in the LA Times referenced a study published by the US National Library of Medicine. The study examined the factors that make some foods seem so addictive. The bottom line? After all these years of proclaiming my addiction to cheese, I can honestly now say, it’s a real addiction. I didn’t make it up. Though my children don’t reach for the cheese as often as I do, we all share an insatiable craving for macaroni and cheese. We love a good grilled cheese sandwich, too.
Think outside the (Kraft) box
Anyone who says they aren’t a fan of macaroni and cheese should step beyond the boxed Kraft and Velveeta. Toledo has restaurants that specialize in gourmet grilled cheese, and also grilled cheese and soup, but at Macs N’ Melts it’s all about the macaroni and cheese and the grilled cheese. Macs N’ Melts is the concept developed by local entrepreneur Robert Croak. The fast casual restaurant opened in Toledo last summer and the Perrysburg location opened in the fall.
The ooey gooey mac-n-cheese and sandwiches are made with top quality ingredients using breads and cheeses from local artisan vendors as well as local produce. But what really struck me was the fact that they donate 5 percent of every sale to local charitable organizations. So we enjoy fresh comfort food while we support the community where we live. What a concept!
Keep calm and eat cheese
That phrase is on one of many signs that hang inside the restaurant. I also loved the one that states the second definition of cheese simply as ‘the greatest substance ever known to man.’ The restaurant is extremely casual with a color scheme of bright yellow, grey, and black. High table tops of shellacked plywood have metal legs and the backless metal stools are bright yellow. I’m guessing some folks may not care for the backless stools, but my kids loved the interior. My daughter called it “hipster like,” if that means anything to some of you with teenagers.
The concept is simple. You walk up to the counter to order and choose from the delectable combinations they have listed on the menu or you can start with your protein, your choice of cheese, etc. and build your own macaroni and cheese or sandwich. Everything is made fresh in front of you. Admittedly at first glance I thought the containers didn’t appear to be generous in size for the macaroni and cheese. Then I watched them stuff them to the top. Don’t let the size of the container deceive you.
Something for everyone, including vegan and dairy free
The kids and I decided to order two types of macaroni and cheese, and two sandwiches. I apologize now to anyone who witnessed our vulture-like behavior. Before I could equally distribute the food, forks were flying and they couldn’t wait to dig in. We chose the Southwest and BLT macs. With chorizo, chipotle peppers, cilantro, jack cheese and queso menonita the Southwest was a crowd pleaser. The milder BLT with bacon, baby leeks, oven roasted tomatoes and two kinds of cheese was also a great option. But is there really ever a bad option with mac-n-cheese?
The Dagwood sandwich with balsamic onion jam, tomato and ham on sourdough is a favorite, we were told, and we loved it as well. The Blue Buffalo, filled with chicken, buffalo aioli, blue cheese and baby kale was another house favorite. Don’t worry if you are vegan or cannot eat dairy. There is vegan pasta on the menu as well as a dairy free grilled cheese that is made with Daiya cheddar cheese. Soups, craft sodas, and delectable treats from Wixey Bakery are also available. If the options sound a little too “grown up” for your little ones’ taste buds, the kids menu offers a half grilled cheese or half grilled peanut butter and jelly along with a side of classic macaroni and cheese and organic milk or juice for only $3.95.
Bottom Line: Succumb to your cravings and delve into freshly made comfort food, exactly how you like it. Macs N’ Melts lets you be as creative as you like with your mac-n-cheese and grilled cheese, or try one of their delicious combinations that are already proven favorites. Cheese is always sure to please!
Karen Zickes is a mom of three active children and freelance writer who resides in Holland, OH
She can be reached in c/o firstname.lastname@example.org