MacCheesy, the gourmet mac and cheese restaurant at 2202 S. Range Line Road, had its grand opening on Saturday.
This restaurant, which opened in October 2017 in a Range Line shopping center across from Northpark Mall, is a Joplin original. You'll not find one like it anywhere else.
Sherif Magd, creator of MacCheesy, has skillfully developed a menu that uses mac and cheese as a foundation for other ingredients that are served steaming hot in cast-iron skillets. There are the traditional cheese and veggie options, but you can also find taco, pizza and cheeseburger versions. There are a host of flavorful choices that feature chicken, including bacon ranch, Parmesan, buffalo, pesto, Alfredo, barbecue and Cajun. There are two mac and cheese recipes that feature shrimp.
You can get all of these entrees to go, and there are party trays for tailgate parties and family gatherings.
The new storefront has a larger kitchen and that has permitted Magd to expand the menu to include a selection of grilled-cheese sandwiches, tomato soup and salads. The sandwiches, served on brioche, include the classic American and cheddar. But you can also try sandwiches with mozzarella, tomato and pesto, chipotle chicken, and Philly cheese steak.
MacCheesy got its start in the Bayberry Square Shopping Center. It's now next door to the new Smoothie King at the southwest corner of 22nd Street and Range Line Road. This building was a former convenience store that has been transformed into two storefronts with plenty of parking.
Though the grand opening has been held, you can still swing by the restaurant and pick up coupons for deals that will be honored through Dec. 31. You can also check the restaurant's website for specials.
Hours are from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.
Where the action is
Things are really cooking on Madison Street, the north end of Range Line, in Webb City. First, there was the new Dollar Tree that opened at 610 S. Madison. Then a developer recently announced plans to build a new Dairy Queen north of the store. Now, the Webb City Sentinel is reporting that a stand-alone Domino's pizza restaurant is coming to the property south of the Dollar Tree. The land has been cleared for both of these projects.
The same Domino's franchise owner, Emily Elwell, has opened a new store on North Main Street in the Stone's Corner Shopping Center. It's next door to a Subway restaurant.
By the way, Elwell has become a very successful franchiser for Domino's. She started as a driver and recently was featured in a national Domino's ad. If you are interested in reading more about her, visit joplinglobe.com and search for Elwell. It's a fascinating read.
Farewell, On the Border
When a well-known brand such as On the Border decides to close up shop, they really get with it. The signage on the restaurant at 3030 S. Range Line Road came down within a matter of hours on Wednesday.
The restaurant posted a note that read: "Hate to say adios, but this location is now closed. Thank you to our loyal customers for all of the good times."
I'm sure there were some good times at On the Border, but there were not enough to sustain it. What's interesting for me is that I rediscovered this restaurant and found it to be pretty good experience after two recent visits. I had free cheese-dip coupons that I used. The food was good, the service was good. But there was virtually no one in the restaurant when I visited.
So, I checked the online reviews for this restaurant, which opened in early 2017. The restaurant got off to a rocky start in terms of customer service and consistency of product. About seven months ago, an ad was placed seeking a new manager for the restaurant. The most recent reviews suggest the restaurant was struggling at the end.
This is not the first big brand restaurant to close in Joplin, and it won't be the last. The closing of Ruby Tuesday comes to mind.
After checking out the note posted on the door, I decided to have something to eat at Hunan Garden, 2830 S. Main St. As I was paying my bill, the clerk at the counter got a text notifying her that On the Border had closed. She shared it with the people at the counter. Everyone was shocked to hear the news. It was the perfect example of how restaurant news of any kind moves like a wildfire in Joplin.
The thing about On the Border is that it might have had a chance at survival if it could have hung on a little longer. The new Home 2 Suites hotel by Hilton that is about to open behind the restaurant might have generated some business for the restaurant.