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A fast-casual concept specializing in customizable, made-to-order macaroni-and-cheese bowls and grilled cheese sandwiches, is opening its first Southwest Florida location next week in the Naples area. I Heart Mac & Cheese and More is set to launch at 11 a.m. March 9 in The Pointe at Founders Square on the southeast corner of Immokalee Road and Collier Boulevard.  

Taking a grown-up approach to the classic childhood dishes of mac and cheese and grilled cheese, the Boca Raton-based restaurant chain serves up a variety of health-conscious bases, including quinoa, broccoli, cauliflower, gluten-free pasta, plant-based protein and dairy-free alternatives, as well as extensive options for traditional mac and cheese and sandwiches. In addition to a base, diners choose from 10 different proteins, 11 vegetables and nine cheeses. Sesame ginger, mango habanero, buffalo, barbecue and pesto are a few of the dressings and sauces available to mix in or top off each creation. 

I Heart Mac & Cheese features signature chef-driven combinations such as The Cuban, baked chicken or meatball parmesan, pepperoni pizza and lobster and white truffle mac. The menu also includes side dishes such as cheesy broccoli and tomato soup, as well as desserts such as cookies, brownies and marshmallow treats. Extensive catering options will also be available for local meetings or events.

The 1,365-square-foot restaurant with 440 square feet of outdoor seating in Founders Square will be operated by franchisee Alfonso Olivos, a Naples native who works full-time in the wealth and investment management industry. Olivos is excited about his leap into the food business. “I believe in the concept and I love the location,” he said. 

Olivos owns Collier County franchise rights for the dining concept as well as first-refusal rights for possible locations in Bonita Springs and Estero, he said. The chain’s website,, also lists locations as coming soon to Cape Coral and Fort Myers, but specific launch dates and locations are not available yet. 

The new restaurant will give away free macaroni and cheese for one year to the first 10 guests who visit on opening day. Details will be announced soon about themed weekly programming, including “Kids Eat Free” Monday nights. 

I Heart Mac & Cheese is one of eight restaurants planned at The Pointe, a dining-centric part of the Founders Square mixed-use development. Skillets, the first restaurant launching there, opened in January. Others coming soon include Crisp & Green, Fuji Sushi Bar & Asian Kitchen, Outback Steakhouse, South Street City Oven and Grill, and Tacos & Tequila Cantina. 

I Heart Mac & Cheese, 8845 Founders Square Drive, Unit 145, will be open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. 

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