• mac & cheeza soft launches downtown with vegan mac & cheese!

    February 28th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, mac and cheeza

    as you may have heard, mac & cheeza is a brand new restaurant coming to downtown los angeles that focuses entirely on the popular side dish, macaroni and cheese. while they aren’t officially open just yet, the good news is they have been having soft launches sporadically where they serve their food to the public…and the even better news is they are very vegan-friendly.

    the husband and i hit up the small eatery last night during one of their soft openings, with our friend and fellow blogger brittany from sick of lettuce, to see just how good LA’s newest vegan mac and cheese offering is. the verdict? mac & cheeza is off to a great start and we couldn’t be more thankful for their vegan options…but there is definitely some room for improvement.

    the way mac & cheeza works is, you order at the counter and basically build your own mac and cheese. you get to choose your size, your noodle type (regular or gluten-free), then your cheese type (the soy cheese is vegan), and then whichever vegetables you want to add in. they even have a vegan sausage option as well. they mix and bake the whole thing right there in front of you, and call your name when your order is ready.

    even with all delicious-sounding toppings available, brittany went with plain in order to see just how good the mac and cheese tasted on its own.

    vegan baby mac. $5

    her initial reaction was that it was good, but not as cheesy-flavored as she’d hope. rather than a cheddar-style sauce, the mac was covered in a liquidy garlic sauce that tasted more like alfredo. i would have to agree that there are much better vegan cheese options out there, seriously some cheddar daiya would have done wonders on this thing.

    momma mac with vegan cheese, vegan sausage, mushrooms and peas. $12

    my husband and i split a momma mac sized mac and cheese with vegan sausage, mushrooms, and peas. i enjoyed it, but again the soy cheese left a little something to be desired. plus, they didn’t put enough peas or mushrooms in it, so the toppings were gone pretty quickly. that being said, the vegan sausage addition was absolutely delicious.

    the ambiance at mac & cheeza is nice and cozy—there aren’t any tables or chairs, but rather soft benches that line the walls where customers can eat. the whole place is decorated with art made from macaroni pieces, which i found quite adorable.

    overall, the food at mac & cheeza was really decent…and while i may not make a special trip downtown from hollywood, i would definitely stop by when in the area. i highly encourage you to get over to mac & cheeza as soon as they open though, and make your own mind up; let’s show these guys how grateful we are that offer vegan mac and cheese. plus, you gotta admit it was a pretty ballsy move for them to open a restaurant that only sells side dishes…

    mac & cheeza
    223 W. 8th Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90014

    to hear the latest news about when mac & cheeza is opening, and when they are having soft launches, subscribe to their mailing list!

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17 responses to “mac & cheeza soft launches downtown with vegan mac & cheese!” RSS icon

  • mac and cheeza is much better when you’re hanging with awesome people 😉

  • I will be trying this out, I’ve been searching for good vegan macaroni and cheese!

  • I wat your life, quarrygirl. Period.

  • $25 for mac & cheese? no thanks.

  • ummm, 3 of us ate and got full for $17. and we had leftovers. pretty reasonable prices if you ask me…

  • Some friends of mine went, and told me that the $25 one is basically a trough.

  • How about them becoming ‘you don’t have to eat out of a throwaway foil container- friendly.”

    Every customer tossing foil bowls can’t be good for anybody involved other than it’s cheap.

  • I went last night too! Considering Mac and Cheeza is a take out restaurant, I think foil containers are acceptable. There aren’t even any tables to eat at inside. I got my mac to go.

  • Hey Evan I doubt they will be serving food from foil containers when the actually open. This was just a practice run. When I went on Friday, it was cash only. I doubt that will be the norm, either.

    Hey Ruby the $25 portion is enough to feed 10 people.

  • yeah, the foil containers are unfortunate. but i selfishly hope they tackle the bland-ish vegan cheese issue first…

  • Sorry, I am gonna have to agree with Evan on this one. That foil looks cheap as shit.

  • You totally missed the toasted walnut topping? I thought that was probably the best part! For take-out I think the aluminum containers work ok and can be recycled. You can bring your own utensils and napkin of course.

    I went to the previous soft opening a week ago and sent them some feedback to their email address. I’ll paraphrase my comments here:

    The owner guys were so friendly and warm, I started chatting and totally forgot to leave a tip. I will definitely remember next time though. Also, the look is very clean and modern and I like the colors and logo.

    My only major criticism would be that the flavor of the vegan cheese sauce wasn’t strong enough. The walnut topping was excellent and vegan sausage and greens were good, if a little sparse. But, I like my cheese more cheesy (maybe more yeast?), more gooey, and more tangy (more vinegar or other acid?)

    I hope this doesn’t come across as too negative since I think the restaurant could be great and it’s nice to find a new place to get vegan food downtown.

  • I’d just like to point out that it’s not all that ballsy to open up a side dish restaurant since S’mac in NYC is pretty much this exact same place and it is insanely popular


  • this place is pretty much bound to be a disaster. i have eaten at their other restaurant (Larkin’s in Eagle Rock) which is also a “leaves a lot to be desired” situation with every plate. my expectations are reeeal low.

  • So they’ve now been around for a little more than a year & I ventured out for my first try last week via a living social deal. I’m no where near the area so drove downtown for a special trip to satisfy my vegan mac n’ cheese jones. SUCH nice people…I was really hoping to be in love. However, the vegan cheese sauce was unbelievably (almost embarrassingly) bland still! 🙁 I had spinach (very sparse) & green onions in mine & bought a second dish w/walnut topping & jalapanos for the hubby. His, though crazy spicy still worked out to be incredibly bland, and mine…well, already mentioned that. Such a cute place & concept (similar to what Yo Soy mentioned- if there’ s a successful place like this in NYC, I’m sure this one can be happening too, IF they majorly improve their recipe!) Another (sorta snotty) woman in line before me wanted gluten free everything & only the soy cheese is gluten-free, so they gave her a free sample & she sort of just walked out! Yikes!
    Thanks so much for serving the vegan & gluten-free masses…really appreciate the efforts! A suggestion would be to add more veggies when you order the veggie topping (even if you must up the price) and por favor, improve upon that cheese sauce- then I will LOVE you!! Take a note from Doomie’s in HWood- their cheese sauce is pretty good! You can do it too Mac n Cheeza…after all, this is your one theme!! Thank you! 🙂

  • The small with 2 toppings is between 7 and 8 bucks.

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