A Food Truck Without Wheels: Mad Mac Brick and Mortar Stays True to its Roots 

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Lex Nelson

It wouldn't quite be true to say that nothing has changed at the brick and mortar location of Mad Mac at the Boise Spectrum—after all, this new spot doesn't have wheels attached—but devotees of the original food truck have not lost the creamy, piping hot mac and cheese, served up in heaping portions and topped with a range of meats, veggies and sauces, remains the same, now that Mad Mac has dropped roots.

On Dec. 13 last year, Mad Mac owners Rhi and Jeff Hoisington took the plunge and opened their own restaurant at 7709 W Overland Rd., Ste. 120, fulfilling many a food truck owner's dream. The space is cavernous, with high ceilings, dangling industrial light fixtures made from bare bulbs encased in silver cages, an exposed kitchen half-hidden behind a high bar (without stools) and a sprawling mural of the company's sugar skull logo covering one wall.

click to enlarge The Skully's Sweet Pork Mac, topped with crisp red onion that balances perfectly with sweet chunks of pulled pork, is a standout on the Mad Mac menu. - LEX NELSON
  • Lex Nelson
  • The Skully's Sweet Pork Mac, topped with crisp red onion that balances perfectly with sweet chunks of pulled pork, is a standout on the Mad Mac menu.
Visitors order at the counter from a wall-mounted menu that includes many favorites from the food truck, like Skully's Sweet Pork, Buffalo Chicken Mac and Southern Comfort, as well as an expansive range of gussied-up sodas. Formica-topped tables and a cluster of leather couches fill the space, but dishes are still served up at lightning speed, likely a nod to the days when customers were left waiting on their feet.

The mac and cheese that serves as the foundation for each bite is comfort food central, although it doesn't do much flavor-wise, serving more as a base note for toppings like tangy, tender pulled pork; slivers of artichoke; and smoked German sausage exploding with grease and mild spice. Despite the restaurant's name, the thick slab of house-made Chocolate Overload Cake stole the show from its cheesy counterparts with its four layers of dense, moist cake and ultra-sweet fudge frosting.

In another ode the the food truck, the pasta is still served in Chinese take-out containers, which makes carting home the inevitable leftovers a cinch. The portion sizes may pose a problem for moviegoers, however, who might want to split a dish so they aren't faced with having to smuggle leftovers into the theater. Plus, on weeknights the restaurant closes at 8 p.m., leaving those looking for a late dinner before a 9 p.m. show out in the cold.

While this is a can't-miss stop for mac and cheese lovers, particularly on a chilly night, keep in mind that supplies of all of the toppings are finite: If you duck in within an hour of closing time, you may miss out on an item or two—on a Thursday, the Philly Cheesesteak Mac was sold out by 7:20 p.m.
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