First “I Heart Mac & Cheese” Opens in New Mexico


After being sold on the idea in Florida, a Farmington couple has opened the first I Heart Mac & Cheese restaurant in New Mexico. Operating in the fast-casual segment of the restaurant business, it’s the first of three they plan to open – one in Rio Rancho and another in Albuquerque. By Donna K. Hewett. This story is sponsored by SunRay Park and Casino and The Big Idea Makerspace

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Order up, the first I Heart Mac and cheese fast casual restaurant in New Mexico has opened its doors in Farmington. And its recent grand opening was a pretty cheesy event. You're watching the local news network brought to you by Sunray Park & Casino and The Big Idea at San Juan college, I'm Haley Opsal. Operating an I Heart Mac and cheese franchise was a dream turned reality for a local couple Kyle and Autumn Santangelo, leaving behind their professions. He worked in an oil and gas industry and she in the medical field they virtually have no experience running a restaurant usually a requirement to become a franchise but for the I Heart Mac and cheese company in Florida

Not the case. So they have so much help and assistance that we didn't have to have any restaurant experience beforehand. And they literally have walked us through each step of the way from marketing to accounting, to construction. There's literally a representative in the company for each area.

And with no hood system, grease trap, fryers or gas stoves needed, the restaurant is fairly simple to run, made to order macaroni and cheese bowls are customizable with health conscious bases like broccoli, cauliflower and gluten free options. How tasty is the pasta? We'll let teen Kade Chaves be the judge the first customer in line. He won a punch card that gives him a year's supply of free Mac and cheese.

It was the best Mac and cheese I've ever had.

Wow. What made it so good?

It was really cheesy. And there was a lot of noodles. It was creamy.

And it had, it was like grilled.

Yeah, it was grilled that liked it.


It was good.

Even as they put the finishing touches on their 2,500 square foot eatery the couple has plans to expand their holdings by opening two other I Heart Mac and cheese locations in Rio Rancho and Albuquerque later this year. Finally being the boss is a heady experience.

It's exhilarating and it' kind of scary, but we're going with it the best we can. And we're super pumped.

Located at 4903 East Main Street. They're open from 10:30 AM to 9:00 PM daily. I Heart Mac and cheese menu is accessible on Facebook. Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network, I'm Haley Opsal.


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