The Weekly Dish - Dat Mac

Photo by Adam Balla

In less than a year’s time, the Dat Mac food truck has made its mark on Southeast Texas cuisine. Last June, owners/operators Jordan Stringer, Aaron Barnhill and Caleb Lewis made a bold foray into the growing food truck industry. They found a used food truck for sale, and took “Judy” out on the road to see if they could make their mac and cheese vision a reality. The venture quickly turned into a successful eatery that offers up gourmet fare in the casual atmosphere of the great outdoors.

Originally the truck divided its time between two Beaumont locations, but earlier this year they were lucky enough to find a parking lot home outside of Bonnie Cokinos School of Dance. Andre Cokinos allows Dat Mac to set up shop next to a covered awning four days a week, affording them a regular spot where they can build their business and grow their fan base. And it’s hard not to be a fan. Not only is the food unique and delicious, but the guys — winners of the 2016 Best Booth Restaurant award at this year’s Taste of the Triangle — are very personable and obviously passionate about what they do.

The food is a testament to their desire to offer something completely different from the norm, but with a comfort food twist. Macaroni and cheese is the staple for most of the menu items, but this isn’t your regular mac and cheese. From the original Dat Mac pasta to the premium macs —including Texas Heat, Cajun Crawfish Alfredo and Pizza Mac — there is nothing ordinary about these dishes. And if you want something even more special, there are items like the Double Bacon Cheese Burger, complete with pasta, hamburger meat, bacon, mustard, and shoe string potatoes, served up on buttered, toasted bread. With cheese, of course. Lots and lots of cheese!

There are no boring items on the menu. Every dish is full of flavor, created through an expert blending of ingredients that sets it apart from a typical restaurant offering.

The menu changes week to week, so the Dat Mac guys advise patrons to visit their Facebook page to keep up to date on what they are offering and to find out which local events they’ll be attending. They post pictures of their mouthwatering creations, and those pictures alone are enough to encourage anyone to frequent the truck and try out the latest menu items. The Facebook page also accurately states their goal: “Our mission is to deliver to people all around the great state of Texas our take on a classic American dish, mac and cheese. ... By using local ingredients, we not only ensure the freshest pasta dishes around, but also the healthiest.”

Dat Mac even offers delivery and catering for private and professional events. Unlike standard catering services that prepare, deliver and sometimes serve the food, Dat Mac also offers curb service — parking Judy on site and serving eventgoers right out of the truck. The turnaround time for catering services is pretty impressive too. They can provide catering with as little as one day’s notice, and will even accommodate special menu requests.

For now, the guys are enjoying the perks that a steady parking spot affords the business, and they are getting to know the wants and needs of their customers so they can better serve them. Dat Mac provides a welcome option in an industry that all too often focuses on fast food and reduced quality. Their plan is to one day operate more food trucks or even open a permanent restaurant location. If they continue to provide the level of customer service and quality food that they have in place now, they will definitely be able to achieve those goals.

They are located at 4555 Calder Ave. Hours of operation are Tuesday – Thursday. 11:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Fri. 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Call (409) 351-1989 or (409) 880-5641. Follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/datmacfoodtruck.

By Theresa Ener

Special to The Examiner

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