Mac's Burgers is the latest restaurant in Memphis to join the gourmet burger/mac 'n' cheese trend. While I admit I had to chuckle at a burger place called "Mac's" with a red and yellow logo, my friend and I went in with an open mind.
Mac's is in the remodeled former location of Dan McGuinness in East Memphis. The space is much more open than it was, with a big bar that encircles the center of the room. It feels a little cavernous, but clean and updated; there are several TVs at the bar and on the walls. There is a portion of Dan McGuinness still open that's accessible through a separate, adjacent exterior door.
As for drinks, Mac's offers a full bar (including a few local beers on draft), a series of non-alcoholic frozen lemonades ($5) and specialty cocktails ($8 – $11) including several blender-made frozen ones – and yes, they have a version of the Jameson Slush recently made famous by the Slider Inn in midtown.
My friend chose an Arnold Palmer Freeze and I went with a Blueberry Frozen Lemonade and added vodka (pro tip: they will add alcohol to your lemonade for an extra $4-$5 – totally worth it.) Both were excellent.
We started off with the Boom Boom Shrimp ($9.95) – butterflied shrimp tossed in a sauce with fries.Good stuff, not too spicy. I'd order it again.
Mac's serves burgers with toppings like bacon, fried egg, different cheeses, fritos, sauces, etc. They also have a salmon burger, a couple of salads, and a whole section for macaroni and cheese with different additions like chicken tenders, brats, or mushrooms.
I chose the Mac and Cheeseburger, which is topped with American yellow and white cheeses, bacon, and "classic Mac". I wanted to try the mac 'n' cheese without a commitment to a whole bowl.
My pal went with the Sunday burger with American cheese, fried egg, and bacon (pictured at the top of this post). The crazy-sounding Freshman 15 seemed intriguing, but just because you can have something, doesn't mean you should, you know? You can choose a single, double, or triple beef patty for each burger; we both went with double for $11.50. Unlike many burger spots, Mac's burgers comes with a pile of thin-cut fries.
I'd like to mention that our server was fantastic. It was one of the better Memphis restaurant service experiences I've had. We didn't have to wait long until the food came out.
The patties aren't hugely thick, but the double was plenty one person. We both agreed that the burgers reminded us of a skillet-fried or griddle-cooked burger rather than a fancy, multiple-kinds-of-meat, cooked-to-your temperature-preference burger.
Let me be clear: this was not a bad thing, at all. It just depends on what you're looking for. The burgers were juicy, flavorful, and the toppings were tasty. On my burger, with the other cheeses and bacon, my half-cup of mac 'n' cheese was a welcome addition. I liked it, but I don't know if I'd need a whole bowl of it, or if I'd use the word "gourmet" to describe it. Others have raved over the mac 'n' cheese so you might have to try it for yourself.
In lieu of dessert (and because I wasn't driving – these slushies weren't playing around) I chose a second cocktail: the Frozen Bellini. It's served like a Margarona, with a big goblet of frozen lemonade and blended peaches, with an upended sparkling wine split. If you're looking to shake up your brunch-time cocktail lineup, this is the one for you.
I will go back to Mac's the next time I want to drink some strong, fun frozen cocktails or I'm looking for a burger that's head and shoulders above any chain, but isn't quite as frou-frou as some of your other options in town.
Mac's is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. There are plenty of options for kids and a few mac 'n' cheese bowl options that are vegetarian-friendly. Mac's Burgers is ADA accessible and seemed very family-friendly when I was there.
4698 Spottswood Avenue