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Mac & Cheeza Hopefully Officially Debuts (For Real) March 11

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Larkin Mackey and Joshua McBride are really just trying to get it all right, from hiring to training, to their secret three-cheese sauce. Opening news has been buzzing about Mac & Cheeza, their newest place downtown on 8th and Broadway, since last month. They're still in the "soft-opening" invitation-only phase, but hope to officially open to the public on March 11, just in time for the downtown LA art walk. (Want to get on that invite list? Simply join their mailing list.) Mackey and McBride have been partners in life and business for some time,
starting with the popular Larkin's Joint in Eagle Rock.

Why did they decide to expand downtown? "Jessica Wethington-McClean, who is in charge of the city's Bringing Back Broadway Project, had been a fan of Larkin's soul food for some time. She told us she wanted us downtown, she wanted our concept," says McBride, "and so here we are." Albeit, a more than slightly paired down version of the lush soul food they serve at Larkin's. Mackey's macaroni and cheese concept started a few years ago, when "gluten" became a household word. Set up like a gourmet deli, this is fully customizable macaroni and cheese. First, pick a size - baby mac, mama mac, daddy mac, or mac daddy. Second, pick a pasta: either traditional or brown rice; then pick a sauce: three-cheese or soy cheese. Then add in vegetables like mushrooms, collard greens, tomatoes, green onions, black olives, or meats like bacon, chorizo, hot links, barbecued chicken, ham, or veggie sausage. Finally, the whole shabang is piled into a recyclable aluminum container and topped with a choice of cheese or spicy toasted walnuts, and placed on a conveyor oven. It rolls out the other side and voila, hot and bubbly mac and cheeza!

The counter fills most of a 400 square foot space, so it's mainly a take out place; dine in is only an option for a few people since there are only a few seats. "We call it snack-in," says McBride. Clever. And delivery will be available throughout the downtown area once they officially open later this month (they have a golden yellow scooter to do deliveries). Catering is available too, "The mac daddy size feeds 15 people, so offices can tailor their orders accordingly," quips McBride. Their beverage selection includes old-fashioned sodas, ginger beer, and Mexican coke, but they hope to eventually apply for a wine and beer license. Retail items will include trinkets that they find interesting, books, and the usual run-of-the-mill merchandise. Larkin's mother will also feature some of the desserts she makes for Larkin's Joint. Expect a rotating list of sweets like peach cobbler, sweet potato pie, red velvet cake, and chocolate chip cookies. They'll be open from 11AM - 11PM Sunday through Thursday, and 11AM - 2AM Friday and Saturday. And again, on that official opening date? McBride: "Anything could happen, we want to get all the kinks out, so March 11 is the goal." —Daniela Galarza

Mac & Cheeza

223 W. 8th St., Los Angeles, CA

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