Monday, April 7, 2014

What Do You Get...

when you combine one of our favorite comfort foods with community service with cabaret theatre? You get Zack’s Mac Shack. Yes, a restaurant built around the simple concept of macaroni and cheese—and other good stuff.
“So, what gave us the idea to open a Gourmet Macaroni House? It's simple really. Macaroni is just like a blank canvas. With a little creativity and the right ingredients, you can make the most amazing entrees!

“What makes us ‘Gourmet’? The word Gourmet itself describes a class of restaurant, cuisine, meal or ingredient of high quality, of special presentation, or high sophistication. Every Sauce, Every Dish, Every Dressing, even our Panini Breads & Appetizers are Made-From-Scratch from the freshest produce & ingredients available to us in combinations that are sometimes new & maybe just a lil quirky for our foodies” (

Zack’s is located on Post Office Street, which is now considered the Arts and Entertainment District of Galveston.
But the street’s history was not always so “family friendly.” In fact, “Post Office once was the heart of Galveston's red-light district. Dozens of brothels had lined Post Office from 25th to 29th streets, forming a district known as The Line. The Galveston of the past is starkly different from the family tourism destination the island has become. For at least a century, prostitution and gambling were openly tolerated by city officials. Because of the island's acceptance of vice it became variously known as the Open City, the Island of Illicit Pleasures, the Sin City of the South and the Free State of Galveston. In 1929 there were 55 houses of prostitution on the island providing employment for nearly 900 prostitutes” (
Today’s family friendly activities include a bi-weekly Karaoke Night at Zack’s with the proceeds benefitting the Ball High School Choir program. “But the fun doesn't stop there. Zack's Mac Shack owners are also quite the entertainers, seasoned vets of Houston's Masquerade Theatre…
“(They) wanted to offer Galveston something it doesn't have...Dinner and a Show in one venue! Phillip is a 15 plus-year veteran Director at the Hobby Center and former Proprietor and Director of the Masquerade Theater in Houston. Luther has performed under Phillip's direction for over 15 years and was awarded the Houston Press Award for Best Actor 4 times! Delicious Gourmet Food and Awesome Entertainers. It seemed a no brainer to roll all our talents together into a fabulous Dinner Theater” (
“…While the name Zack's Mac Shack and the bright green and yellow paint don't give the impression of a sophisticated cabaret, the artful
ambience, crisp musical direction, fascinating musical staging, and astounding performances easily transform the restaurant into a top notch cabaret venue…” (David Clarke at According to Holly, our server and the restaurant’s general manager, the balcony area shown here is used as part of the performance stage.
While the restaurant has the words “Mac Shack” in its name, the menu offerings don’t end there. The appetizers list includes cheese stuffed wontons and empanadas. And there is a lengthy list of paninis and salads along with a burger and hot dog.

We started our meal by sharing an order of the wontons that were stuffed with cream cheese, green onions, and garlic, and we had our choice of either a sweet and sour or, our choice, peanut dipping sauce.
These were addicting. We could have eaten another plate without any problem. You bit through the crisp wonton shell and warm and oozy cream cheese flowed into your mouth. And the garlic had been used judiciously. There was just enough of a hint to let you know of its presence.

I quickly made up my mind on which of the interesting mac dishes I would order—the Thai Mac made with chicken, carrots, green onions, sprouts, and peanuts and topped with crispy noodles and a fortune cookie. Instead of cheese sauce, the Thai Mac comes with either a spicy Thai sauce—my choice—or a peanut sauce.
The Thai sauce was both slightly sweet and very spicy. So spicy that another server admitted that the sauce was hotter than normal that day. So spicy that I saved about a third to eat the following day for—you guessed it—breakfast.

As if I needed more spice, I also ordered a side of the spicy sweet corn cole slaw made with green and red cabbage, carrot, and sweet corn seasoned with a smoky and medium hot spice.
It was probably good, but by this time my taste buds had been seared by the Thai Mac.

Chuck wanted to order the Mac Pot Pie—all of the chicken pot pie fixin’s mixed with macaroni. But, alas, they were out, so he switched to the Classic Mac and, from a list of toppings, added sliced hot dogs.
The photo here is a bit misleading since the dish wasn’t as “cheesy” as it may look. And, since we like our cheese in moderation, this was a good thing. And the smoky hot dogs went a long way to cutting the richness of the dish.

“Did you leave room for dessert?” asked Holly.

Yes, we did--another order of wontons. We really liked these.
As we were leaving following our 4.0 Addie lunch, the room was being prepared for Karaoke Night. Yes, Zack’s is a good restaurant and community fellow.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

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