Holy Macaroni replaces Mac Daddy’s in West Campus


Matt Doherty, co-owner of Holy Macaroni, will hold a soft open on Oct. 28.

Photo Credit: Ravin Rene | Daily Texan Staff

Brothers Joe and Matt Doherty’s love for food stems from their first love: music. The two initially came to Austin as blues musicians, but quickly became involved in the food scene — most recently, by opening Holy Macaroni in West Campus. 

“Music is creative, and food is creative,” Joe said. “We made the menu ourselves, painted the truck ourselves, Matt made the signs, so in some ways there’s as much creativity in doing this as there is in
playing music.”

When West Campus favorite Mac Daddy’s decided to leave the Rancho Rio Eatery food truck park, Joe and Matt were quick to swoop in and take its spot with Holy Macaroni. The truck will soft open on Oct. 28.

“We have Eddy from Longhorn Chicken to thank for this,” Joe said. “He came knocking on our door and said that Mac Daddy’s was closing down and that we should open up a mac and cheese spot, so we jumped on it.”

The siblings got their start in the food truck game when they took over ownership of Holy Cacao in 2014. After successfully running it for three years, Joe and Matt decided it was time to try something new. 

“You show up for work every day, you’ve been in the same food trailer doing the same thing and it gets a little repetitive,” Joe said. “You have to find ways to keep yourself interested and excited, so it was good to have a new project to work on.”

While macaroni is the main focus of Holy Macaroni’s menu, Joe and Matt are taking a much different approach to it than Mac Daddy’s did, incorporating things such as Frito pies, burritos and chili dogs. 

“We’re definitely homier and less gourmet than Mac Daddy’s,” Matt said. “We’re really trying to hit that comfort food level and think of what people want from that perspective.”

Mac Daddy’s diehards shouldn’t worry, though. Holy Macaroni also offers what they call a “grandma style” macaroni option, which is topped with panko breadcrumbs, giving it the old-school feel Mac Daddy’s was popular for.

Holy Macaroni proves to be a worthy successor to Mac Daddy’s. The basic dish is a smoother and creamier take on macaroni with the brothers’ homemade cheese sauce. Holy Macaroni truly thrives, though, when it gets more creative with its menu items.

The Macaroni and Cheesesteak mixes Joe and Matt’s cheese sauce with ground beef, sautéed mushrooms, onions and green pepper. The dish does a solid job of matching the flavor of a Philly Cheesesteak, but it could be slightly improved with the use of real sliced Philly meat instead of ground beef. 

One of the menu’s highest points isn’t even a macaroni dish. The Frito pie, while simple, is a fantastic homemade version of the Southern treat. The fresh chili used in it is true to Texas form, scrapping the beans and doubling down on the meat.

The menu item that undoubtedly stands apart from the rest is the Macarito. This absurd handheld burrito stuffs macaroni, sliced franks, bacon, sour cream and chili into a flour tortilla. The end product is the unholy culmination of everyone’s favorite childhood foods. What shouldn’t work in theory excels as the epitome of hearty comfort food. 

While Holy Macaroni is still in its earliest phase of business, it is already showing a lot of promise for success in West Campus. 

“We know that there’s a lot of people here that are looking for good, comforting food, and we’re just trying to put out the best product we can,” Joe said.