NORTON - Burgers and beers. Whiskey and Bourbon. Chicken and Waffles. Shrimp and Grits. That is what you'll find at Mac & Walt's. This is a small but mighty neighborhood restaurant and bar where the 55 seats are filled up with regulars every night, because it's the kind of place the town of Norton was waiting for.
Tony Canova is the owner - operator. He named Mac & Walt's after two of his children. Kids can certainly enjoy a meal here, but one look at all the bourbon and whiskey barrels lining the walls and you will realize this place was really designed for adults to dine and drink.
"I wanted the room to be warm, inviting, but also I wanted the bar to dominate the space when you walked in," Tony said. "I am a fan of bourbons. I've been a fan of bourbon for years. So we carry over 40 different types of bourbon alone here, and if you include all the other types of whiskeys, we have over 100 types of whiskey."
Despite the display of booze, food is far from an afterthought at Mac & Walt's. They offer a mix of comfort food and Southern-inspired favorites, all presented on mini sheet trays, and overloaded with flavor.
There are soft-pretzels served with a side of cheese-sauce infused with a locally-brewed ale; sweet and spicy honey sriracha chicken wings; hand-cut fries soaked with apple cider vinegar and twice cooked; golden onion rings that are hand-battered and ready to dip into some buttermilk ranch dressing. There is a generous plate of chicken and waffles topped with whipped maple butter, and real Southern style shrimp and grits with Tasso ham and andouille sausage.
"Shrimp and grits are an item that you don't really find around here. We use Gulf Shrimp and it's a spicy combination of flavors. The grits are creamy; there's a lot of butter and cheese on them," Tony said. "It's a Southern comfort food that really fills you up."
It makes sense that a place named Mac & Walt's would offer some good mac & cheese, and they definitely do not disappoint. The Buffalo Chicken mac is made with fusilli pasta, a rich homemade cheese sauce, and chunks of Buffalo chicken along with blue cheese crumbles.
For a mac & cheese experience unlike anything else you have ever tasted, behold the signature Back Got Mac Burger. Because instead of a traditional bread bun, this baby is sandwiched between two grilled macaroni and cheese patties.
"That's fusilli pasta that we mix with our cheese sauce and Ritz crackers. We mix that together, kind of firm it up a little bit and form it into patties. When one is ordered, we take it, we cook it on our flattop while we're cooking the burger," Tony explained.
"You're going to have your burger patty, the candied bacon, and we actually put the other mac and cheese bun on top of that. And the onion strings and the cheese sauce goes over everything. It's a messy burger. We actually call it a knife and fork burger."
Everybody loves the burgers here, because they are always ground fresh, hand-pattied, and sourced with grass-fed beef from Maine Family Farms out of Portland, Maine. Although frankly, there is a somewhat mixed reaction to the burger known as the Hunka Burnin Love, topped with Applewood smoked bacon, creamy peanut butter, and seared bananas.
"No other item has got a reaction like that - from good to bad. Most people like it, but there are some that just think there's a little too much going on," Tony admitted.
The desserts are universally liked, whether it's the chocolate chip cookie sandwiches or the warm fudge brownie sundae.
"You're just not just going to find a bunch of Mac & Walt's," Tony said with pride. "The passion of serving good food, something that I would want to eat every day in my restaurants. It's important to me that my guests get the same experience."
You can find Mac & Walt's at 363 Old Colony Road in Norton, that's Route 123, and online at macandwalts.com.
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