ST. LOUIS — The COVID-19 pandemic has forced restaurants to get creative to keep their businesses rolling. For one local burger joint that means hitting the road.
Mac’s Local Eats teased foodie fans on its social media pages that it’s bringing its famous smashburgers and Red Hot Riplet “Rip Fries” to a neighborhood near you soon.
That's right ... Mac’s Local Eats is getting ready to debut a food truck.
“A food truck is something we have been considering for quite a while,” owners Mac and Kelly McKenzie told 5 On Your Side.
They often get requests to have their burgers and fries at outside events, like weddings, backyard parties and subdivision meetups. Now, a food truck can expand their footprint outside of the Benton Park brick-and-mortar location.
Like all restaurants operating during the coronavirus pandemic, the owners said they’ve faced a significant loss in sales. Pre-pandemic, people packed into a line that stretched through the restaurant and out to sidewalk. Now, drivers pull up and wait at the curbside to safely grab a bag of food after ordering from their vehicle.
“Mac’s going mobile gives us the chance to accommodate our customers at their special events while also making sure we make up some of those lost sales,” Kelly and Mac explained.
She said all Mac’s Local Eats staff members have been on the team for at least one year, most of them 2-3 years. When COVID-19 hit back in March, there was real concern some beloved members of the team would have to be let go.
“Proudly we are able to say Mac’s has been able to keep all staff members employed at full-time, full pay as we were operating pre-COVID,” the McKenzies said. “This is something we want to ensure continues for our crew.”
Taking Mac’s on the road will help make sure that happens.
But, let’s be real, it’s also a big win for the entire St. Louis community.
“Mac’s going mobile, setting up in new locations, having new guests try our food, simply having the ability to explore STL and beyond ... that just sounds like real good times!” the owners said.
The food truck doesn’t have an official name or launch date just yet and more details are still coming together.
However, Kelly McKenzie did say a few different exciting collaborations are “in the works.”
“More details to come soon!”
Mac’s Local Eats has had St. Louis foodies sizzling with excitement for years, moving from its original location in Dogtown to a kitchen inside Bluewood Brewing last year.
But it’s not just well known in the St. Louis area. In 2019, Food & Wine magazine named Mac’s Local Eats as one of the top 20 spots in America to grab a burger.
Mac’s Local Eats is located at 1821 Cherokee Street in the Benton Park neighborhood, across from the old Lemp Brewery. It’s currently only offering food drive-thru-style with ordering on-site only and curbside pickup.