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Gourmet Mac n' Cheese restaurant to make debut in East Lansing soon

July 30, 2014
<p>From left, Milford, Mich., residents, Ed Starkey and Eddie Starkey work on construction at Sweet Lorraine's Fabulous Mac n' Cheez on July 30, 2014 on Grand River Avenue. The restaurant is scheduled to open sometime this August. Jessalyn Tamez/The State News</p>

From left, Milford, Mich., residents, Ed Starkey and Eddie Starkey work on construction at Sweet Lorraine's Fabulous Mac n' Cheez on July 30, 2014 on Grand River Avenue. The restaurant is scheduled to open sometime this August. Jessalyn Tamez/The State News

Photo by Jessalyn Tamez | The State News

Sweet Lorraine’s will be located on Grand River Avenue near Bailey Street. The location was previously Wanderer’s Teahouse and Cafe. The building’s owner, Loren Perry, said construction is on-schedule and running smoothly. Perry said the goal is to finish by August 15.

Married owners and cofounders Lorraine Platman and Gary Sussman both attended MSU and stayed in Snyder-Phillips Hall. Although they both eventually transferred to different schools, Sussman said they love East Lansing.

“We love the demographics. We love the student population,” Sussman said. “It’s one of our target audiences and we feel like the foods that we have are going to be real attractive to younger people.”

The eatery will sell soups, sandwiches, salads, wraps and, of course, macaroni and cheese. Sweet Lorraine’s features 14 different kinds of mac n’ cheese and a mac n’ cheese bar.

Hospitality business senior Hallie St. Marie said she is looking forward to the opening.

“I’m excited about the mac n’ cheese bar because it seems more healthy, and we don’t really have anything like that on this strip (of Grand River Avenue),” she said.

Sussman said the franchise already sources a lot of their food from Michigan and they plan to continue to find and use locally grown food upon opening in East Lansing. Sweet Lorraine’s gets their soft drinks from Traverse City, eggs from Charlotte and shrimp from Okemos.

“We’re hoping to have a partnership with the university ... finding local produce and meat products,” Sussman said.

St. Marie said she likes the idea of restaurants taking a farm-to-table approach.

“I think it’s getting really popular, especially in East Lansing,” she said.

She said East Lansing is great at helping local farmers and being healthy and conscious of where food is coming from. These concepts are resonating not only with East Lansing residents, but all of Michigan.

Sussman said Sweet Lorraine’s would be scouting farmer’s markets for ingredients and taking advantage of organic foods.

“We’re long time environmentalists who believe in not only locally sourced food, but humanely raised,” Sussman said.

Sweet Lorraine’s Fabulous Mac n’ Cheez has two other locations in Auburn Hills and Troy. Sussman said in addition to an East Lansing location, a fourth Mac n’ Cheez restaurant will open at the Renaissance Center in Detroit, and plans for a fifth near Wayne State University in Detroit are in the works.

“Michigan State is a wonderful campus and we just think it’s going to be great for our concept, because it just seems to work well with young people,” Sussman said. “We also deliver, and we think the campus will be good for delivery.”

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