Inside Sheffield's First Mac & Cheese RestaurantPosted by: Claudia Downs
L: Hatty R: Emily
You may know sisters Emily and Hatty from their food truck, Fizz & Fromage, which put mac & cheese on the map as a Sheffield street food favourite. Now, they’ve stepped things up with brand new restaurant Macpot, in the exciting Orchard Square development. We met up with them to talk all things mac & cheese.
“There were a lot more hurdles to go over opening a restaurant, than there was with a food truck,” says Emily. “We used to just pop the gazebo in the back of the car and get going! But with opening a restaurant there’s the whole legal process with the lease, which was something we’d never done before. The shop fitting was completely new to us too – I’d done up a house before, but it was nothing like that! So it did feel like quite a big leap. But now we’re in and the doors are open, it all feels like a distant memory, which is nice.
Now, I massively prefer having the shop. We’re not going to get blown away, which happened many a time with the gazebo! And having running water and electricity makes any problem feel less of a big deal. It’s a bit cushier than what we’re used to!”
So what made Emily and Hatty pick mac & cheese as their signature dish? “We wanted something nostalgic,” says Emily, “and we both had mac & cheese loads as kids! We also liked the single concept idea, which we felt was becoming popular in a lot of cities. No one had popped up to do mac & cheese yet in Sheffield, and we could see it taking off in places like London and Manchester.
Macpot is all about casual dining; somewhere you can have a coffee in the morning with friends, or grab a quick takeout. But it’s also somewhere you can come and have a glass of wine of an evening – we’re open till 10pm on Fridays for post-work drinks. It’s a versatile space, which can be dressed up and down quite easily. We also use it for private events, and put out loads of twinkly lights and flowers, which is lovely. It’s really spacious, which makes it great for families. It’s easy to tuck a pram out of the way!”
Orchard Square has been getting a lot of attention recently; as well as Macpot, there are neighbours Fools Gold (a new pizza restaurant from the creator of Lucky Fox), and a vibrant mural from local artist Will Rea. “There’s a lot of development happening here, with the goal to bring in more cafes and dining experiences, which makes it an exciting place to be. And the terrace is what really pulled us in – to get somewhere in the city centre with outside space is so rare!”
Running a business with family would drive some of us crazy. But Hatty and Emily think this dynamic plays to both of their strengths. “Running Macpot as sisters is good!” says Hatty. “Because we’re family, and because it’s a team effort, it makes it all matter more – which is a positive thing. We want it to work for each other as much as for ourselves. Em and I have grown much closer in our twenties than we ever were as children; we’re best friends as well as business partners! We think very differently and have very different approaches, but that’s good, because it means we’re covering all bases.”
Emily agrees. “We have different skillsets to manage different parts of the business, so we don’t lock heads that much. We know when to step back and let the other take charge.”
The Macpot menu currently boasts five different mac & cheese options, three of which can be made vegan. They also offer sides such as nachos and chips, and a breakfast menu with bacon sandwiches and porridge pots.
“We didn’t want anything too complicated or inaccessible on our menu – just great flavours,” says Hatty. “I love the spicy meatball pot - I’m having that a lot at lunchtime. The meatballs are lovely, and the rich, creamy sauce is such a contrast. It was inspired by the meatball marinara, everyone’s favourite dirty sandwich!”
“I think my favourite is carbonara,” says Emily. “It’s definitely the prettiest one, and there’s lots of different elements – crunchy bacon, garlicky mushrooms, and extra cheese on top. You can’t go wrong with cheese!”
Macpot is on the upper floor of Orchard Terrace. They are open 8:30am-4pm Monday-Thursday, 8:30am-10pm on Fridays, and 11:30am-5pm on Saturdays. Find them on social media @macpotkitchen.