I Heart Mac and Cheese coming to Altamonte Springs

Orlando-area native and father of four chooses franchise that appeals to everyone
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A national chain, I Heart Mac & Cheese, is coming to Altamonte Springs but it will definitely have a local flavor.

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Kyle Fowler, a Lake Brantley High School graduate who went on to play outside linebacker for the University of Central Florida Knights before returning “home” to raise a family, plans to open Greater Orlando’s first I Heart Mac & Cheese franchise in February 2022.

That’s about as local as you can get.

“I think it’s important to say I wanted to stay in the community I grew up in,” the first-time franchisee said.

He said he’s been house-flipping and renovating while he has searched for years looking for just the right franchise to buy. He finally found it.

How did he settle on I Heart Mac & Cheese? It wouldn’t have anything to do with macaroni and cheese, an undeniable kids’ favorite, would it? (He and his wife, Lindsay, have four daughters.)

“Well, my 13-year-old’s nickname is Mac and my 14-year-old’s favorite food is mac and cheese,” he said with a chuckle.

“We are so excited to announce BIG things coming soon for the Fowler Family!” he writes on his Facebook page. “Our family can’t wait for this new venture, as we will be opening our first franchise, I Heart Mac & Cheese and more. Our first location will be next to Carrabba’s in Altamonte (in the old Firehouse subs storefront).”

Fowler said he also has the franchise rights for Lake Mary and hopes to open a location there as soon as this one gets up and going.

The restaurant, which began franchising in 2017, has 34 locations opening or “coming soon.” Most are in Florida but ones are coming soon to Las Vegas, Nevada, and Palm Springs, California.

“I Heart Mac & Cheese is a rapidly expanding fast-casual concept specializing in customizable, made-to-order macaroni and cheese bowls with a variety of health-conscious bases including quinoa, broccoli, cauliflower, gluten-free pasta, grilled cheese sandwiches. With vegan cheese sauce and plant-based proteins, I Heart Mac & Cheese continues to evolve to meet the needs of our guests,” the company writes on its website.

Led by CEO Steve Giordanella, the brand launched its first location in 2016 and currently operates corporate locations in Boca Raton, Florida, and Athens, Georgia, according to a press release. 

“The I Heart Mac & Cheese franchise concept is really resonating with aspiring entrepreneurs of all walks of life who are looking to bring a unique, fun fast-casual concept to their respective communities,” Giordanella said.

Patti Ewald

Patti Ewald

Patti Ewald has been digging for news stories ever since she took her gift of gab and insatiable curiosity to Ohio State and -- poof! -- turned them into a journalism degree. Now a freelance writer living in St. Petersburg, Florida, Patti thanks her vast newsroom experience for her writing skills and her two grown sons, three cats and a scruffy white dog for her sense of humor, compassion and tenacity.

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