SF Underground Market Flyer

The Restaurant Formerly Known as Little Mac

June 6, 2010 · 715 comments

Eat mac and cheese. Screw McDonald’s. Get famous.

That was our motto at the SF Underground Farmers’ Market on Friday, after finding out two days earlier that McDonald’s would sue us for opening a restaurant called Little Mac.

Let me backtrack.

Last Wednesday, Erin and I found out we’d be debuting our mac and cheese for a crowd of a few thousand people at the SF Underground Farmers’ Market, hosted by Forage SF. That same day, we also found out that McDonald’s would sue us if we used the name Little Mac. According to their corporate council, any name with the word “mac” or “mc” is out of the question – even if it refers to mac and cheese.

(update 6/9/10: We have recieved lots of press about this story, and I want to clarify a few points. We ran the name Little Mac past a lawyer months ago, who told us he didn’t believe McDonald’s would have a problem with the name because there was no brand confusion. We became concerned when Erin, who is also a lawyer, started getting questioned by friends in Boston about the connection between Little Mac and McDonald’s. Erin called McDonald’s and spoke to their corporate council who told us they would have a problem with our name, or any other name with “mac” or “mc” in it. We never received a letter from McDonald’s, nor told anyone that we did.)

Great. We had less than 48 hours to buy and prep 45 pounds of elbow pasta, 40 pounds of cheese, 15 pounds of Prather Ranch hot dogs for our “trailer mac,” bags of flour, boxes of butter, gallons of milk, and cocoa powder and sugar for about 350 homemade oreos. Plus, we were nameless. How were people going to remember who we were? What would our sign say? What they hell were we supposed to do?

A contest! We enlisted friends to hand out flyers that explained our situation, and left room for people to write in their suggested restaurant name. We then set up a bulletin board at our stand where people could pin up their ideas. The winner of the contest would get a lifetime of free mac and cheese, plus serious bragging rights. Here’s a shot of our stand before the madness began:

What insanity. The market was held at SomArts, and while the day shift (11am-4pm) was a steady stream of orders, we were slammed at the night market (6pm – midnight). People loved our mac and cheese! We served two kinds – “return of the mac,” which was our classic three-cheese version, and our “trailer mac,” which had sliced Prather Ranch organic hot dog and topped with crushed potato chips.

We cooked on induction burners, and couldn’t churn it out fast enough. After waiting in line for over an hour to get into the market, people then waited in another line just for our mac and cheese – and came back for more. It was incredible. And utterly exhausting. I wish I had time to take pictures, but luckily Janet from Pretty Green Girl, who helped hand out flyers all day long, snapped a shot of trailer mac:

We received tons of names from attendees, and are still sorting through all the cards. Macalicious, Back to the Mac, MNC, Corkscrew You, Elbow Inn, Elbow Room, Mac & Diane, Say Cheese, Nice & Cheesy – I can go on….

What about you? Do you have a great name for the restaurant formerly known as Little Mac? Here are a few things to consider:

  • Along with mac and cheese, we are focusing on the nostalgic aspect of foods–things you remember fondly from childhood.
  • We are using all local cheeses and produce. We’ll have about 9 types of mac and cheese, along with organic salads, homemade desserts, local wine and craft beers.
  • We would rather not use “mac” in the name (I guess we didn’t state that clearly enough for market goers).

You too could win lots and lots of free mac and cheese. I realize that means little to those of you far away – so we’ll come up with something else for you if we choose your name. Please help name our restaurant! And . . . screw McDonald’s.

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{ 707 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer Allen June 11, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Here are a few ideas from my end:

* Hopscotch
* Yankee Noodle (or Yankee Doodle)
* Animal Crackers
* Alphabet Soup

I know they don’t have cheese in the name, but hey!

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stephanie June 11, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Blank & Cheese

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stephanie June 11, 2010 at 2:15 pm

lol or “Nittle Nac” for kids and without saying “mac”

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Stephanie June 11, 2010 at 3:40 pm

How about naming the restaurant “Cheesy Goodness!”

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David Cox June 12, 2010 at 1:15 am

PastArtisan Formaggio or 起司通心麵 Cheese Through The Heart Noodles.

Kind of a long name, but it depicts the two main ingredients, pasta and artisan cheese.
The Italian kinda rolls off the tongue.
I live in Taiwan, and am starting a pizza shop which will feature a BBQ Mac Cheese, the Chinese name for Mac Cheese is 起司通心麵
(qi si) (tong xin mian) which literally translates to (cheese through the heart noodles).

Great wishes for your success!

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Aaron June 12, 2010 at 7:38 am

Play hardball with McAroni ;)

/not creative enough to be of much help

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TMP June 12, 2010 at 10:31 am

Aaron I think that is a good one.

What about Little Roni’s

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Dianne Edwards June 12, 2010 at 11:39 am

how about ‘Max and Cheese’.
Other suggestions:
Mak and Cheese
Cheesy Maks
Max and Chez

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Carla June 12, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Big Cheese
The Bended Noodle
little formaggio
little maccherone

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Carla June 12, 2010 at 12:17 pm

mini maccherone

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Tim June 12, 2010 at 12:40 pm

elbows and cheese

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Barbara June 12, 2010 at 1:05 pm

The Cheesy Noodle is my suggestion.

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Dorian Roffe-Hammond June 12, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Aaron’s suggestion of “McAroni” is a good one. I’d go with that for sure. Screw McDonalds. This corporate dinasaur still continues to contribute nothing of real value to the Gross National Product but grease and carbohydrates.

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Amy June 12, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Comfort and Joy

When I think of mac n cheese growing up and a cold beer as an adult. Comfort for the mac n cheese and joy for a cold beer

Comfort and Joy
Tag line under Name: Come and Enjoy

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Lisa Albert June 16, 2010 at 4:31 pm

I love this one – Comfort and Joy with tag Come and Enjoy.
Of if you’re feeling childish, you could go with the pig latin

ack-May ease-Chay.

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cille gaines June 12, 2010 at 3:21 pm

My suggestion is Cheese Aroni &More. You have the specialty aswell as serving the other dishes.

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Stormdrane June 12, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Boycott Arches

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Jennifer Patrick June 12, 2010 at 9:31 pm

How about Mi Pasta, Su Pasta! Sort of like Mi Casa es Su Casa. It would be kind of neat seeing as you wanted to remind people of homemade cooking.

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Britt June 13, 2010 at 3:58 am

That’s so absurd! There are two mac & cheese restaurants here in NYC that both use “mac” in the name. One is called S’Mac and the other Supermac–wonder why they haven’t (or if they have) had any legal issues with the names?

Good luck with the renaming! If anything occurs to me, I’ll be back. :)

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Drea Rockett June 13, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Canoodles and cheese?

Creamy n’ cheesy

Macaroni and cheese please!

I dunno. This is harder than it seems like it should be. lol.

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Jeff June 13, 2010 at 9:16 pm

House o’ cheesey noodles.

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Denise June 14, 2010 at 5:32 am

Comfort Foods
Casseroni & Cheese

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Chuck Dyer June 14, 2010 at 6:02 am

Rubbing Elbows

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Sheila Daniel June 14, 2010 at 6:05 am

Since you restaurant is all about nostalgic home made good food how about “Comfort” or “Come For It”. Just an idea!

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Loretta June 14, 2010 at 6:21 am

Well the way you describe your restaurant makes me think of things like: Memories, Mom’s Kitchen, When We Were Young, Family Time and Family & Friends.

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Sarepta June 14, 2010 at 6:59 am

Ooey Gooey (or Ooey Gooey’s)
Yum Yum, I Want Some!

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Andrew June 14, 2010 at 7:29 am

Fresh and Cheesy
Yankee Noodles
Blank a Ronis

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Andrew June 14, 2010 at 7:39 am

Chac and Meese

Craft Diner – “Artisan Cheese and Elbows many ways, and local craft beers and regional wine”
above is a play on Kraft Dinner

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Danny June 14, 2010 at 8:05 am

The Cheesy Easy
Cheese Please!
The Big Cheese

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Katie McGarvey June 14, 2010 at 8:12 am

Love Little Mac … and very disappointed that Big Mac is bullying Little Mac :-(

Few suggestions for names …

The Kitchen Table
Local Plate
Local Fork
Fork & Knife

Good luck … and can’t wait to hear the new name!!

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JOHN W COLELLA June 14, 2010 at 11:13 am

LATCHKEY KITCHEN

RECESS

SAY CHEESE

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Ryan Spaulding June 14, 2010 at 12:07 pm

I’ve been thinking of a few:
Accheroni’s (It’s maccheroni without the ‘m’, to avoid any relation to ‘mac’)

Makerouns and Cheese

Cheesy Em

Good luck with the restaurant!!!

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Jamiesen June 14, 2010 at 12:28 pm

The Cheesery (pun off of Eatery)

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Christina P June 14, 2010 at 1:30 pm

So, a little late, perhaps, but here are a few suggestions from me for the name:
1. The Founding Father
2. Jefferson’s Cauldron
3. The Melting Pot.

All 3 are plays on the fact the Thomas Jefferson supposedly invented the Mac’n'Cheese we eat today.

Hope you figure it out:-)

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Pondergirl June 15, 2010 at 8:52 am

No I hope you figure it out. Jefferson only promoted his slave’s inventions. “Supposedly” HAH!

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Erin June 16, 2010 at 2:04 pm

The Melting Pot is already a restaurant (at least here in Seattle). Its a fondue restaurant.

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Pondergirl June 15, 2010 at 8:50 am

We be Mackin

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Joanna June 15, 2010 at 2:18 pm

& Cheese

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Jim June 15, 2010 at 5:49 pm

My wife’s grandmother was famous for her maccaroni and cheese and once ran a restaurant in Texas. Her nickname was MomMac. How about “MomMac’s” with a pic that looks like everybody’s grandma?

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Stacy June 16, 2010 at 6:19 am

I hope you like this name

Chez-a-Roni

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Joye June 16, 2010 at 9:53 am

Great suggestions. My first thought in reading about your dilemma was “Cheese Louise!” Might work for a rest name…

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Erin June 16, 2010 at 2:00 pm

I like the Elbow Room or Rubbing Elbows.

My suggestion is The Cheese Lounge

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Grectchen June 16, 2010 at 2:43 pm

How about “S’ Mack My Cheese!

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Kelly June 16, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Oak ‘N Cheese
Loca Roni
Tiny ‘donald’s
Elbonics

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Kristin June 16, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Talkin’ sMACk
Cheesy 4 Sheeshy

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Carrie June 16, 2010 at 10:10 pm

I think the Elbow Room sounds awesome. Or just plain Elbow Room. I think that’s what you should go with.

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Britt June 25, 2010 at 12:49 pm

mackin’ cheese

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jenny m June 25, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Yummaroni!
( or a variation , such as Yum-a-roni )
I think “aroni” is a good thing to include, a clear association with maccaroni. And of course, “Yummy” is one of those words conveying the fun-food feeling of childhood.

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Dragan June 25, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Macnificent

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Brona Cos June 25, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Mac Shack
Chez Mac
McNoddle

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Nancy June 25, 2010 at 6:11 pm

‘n’ Cheese

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Subtlefuge June 26, 2010 at 9:04 pm

I suggest precisely this:

Little caM

The cognoscenti would get it, and yet McDonald’s should have no recourse.

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Subtlefuge June 27, 2010 at 9:51 am

I should add: the name “Little caM” preserves the dig at McDonald’s
indefinitely and would make the restaurant’s sign a neighborhood
landmark. And thus the name might generate business.

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Leila June 28, 2010 at 10:12 am

“Easy Cheesy”
or any other spelling variation of it :)

Your shop sounds fab, I’d love to visit one day!

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