Mary and Frank Senese are one of Waco’s most beloved power couples. After the Senese’s huge success with their other business Dough Re Mi, an edible cookie dough shop, Mary and Frank made the decision to leap into yet another feat: owning a second restaurant. Boasting a whopping 77,558,760 mac and cheese combinations, Roni’s Mac Bar is your number one cheesy pasta destination for all things mac and cheese. With Mary’s southern cooking sensibilities and Frank’s northern upbringing treating mac and cheese as an entree, the Senese duo is committed to making sure their guests are thinking outside the box with this comfort food delicacy!
We got the chance to ask the owners of Roni’s Mac Bar some questions about their business:
Q: What keeps you coming back to Union Hall as a vendor?
A: “One of the great perks of being in a food hall is the guaranteed food traffic and the ability to ‘test the market’ without a lot of risk. Plus, it’s been great having so much support from the other vendors!”
Q: What was the inspiration for Roni’s Mac Bar?
A: “We had already opened Dough Re Mi next door, and joked often about opening something in the vacant spot that is now Roni’s. After several months of fantasizing over different ideas, we decided to take the leap and open a concept we both love. We kept asking ourselves: Why not?”
Q: Were there any new challenges that came with Roni’s when compared to your other restaurant Dough Re Mi?
A: “Definitely! Being more of a full restaurant, there were a lot more moving parts involved. More equipment needed, a larger menu, and more staff needed. We were also starting on a larger scale, versus Dough Re Mi where we started very small in our home kitchen and worked our way up.”
Q: For you, what is the key difference between a boring, bland bowl of mac & cheese and one of Roni’s mind-blowing mac & cheese creations?
A: “It’s a combination of our house-made cheese sauce, quality ingredients, and the freedom to ‘think outside the box’ with 20+ topping options. You dream it, we do it.”
Q: Right now what’s the go-to mac & cheese bowl that you would recommend to your customers?
A: “Our Texas BBQ Signature Bowl. It’s been the best seller since the day we opened! You can’t go wrong with a Mac & Cheese + Brisket + BBQ combo.”
Q: What’s next for Roni’s Mac Bar?
A: “We have big plans for expansion, both within and outside of Texas! We’ve spent the last few months really perfecting our operations so that we’re ready to grow when the time comes. Hint: SOON!”
Roni’s Mac Bar and Dough Re Mi are located at 720 Franklin Ave. inside Union Hall. Below are Roni’s Mac Bar’s hours of operation: