Seminole Dining Launches Restaurants with Tasty New Menu Items
September 30, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Seminole Dining is serving up two new restaurants that offer expanded menus sure to satisfy a range of appetites at Florida State University.
Customers can enjoy fresh, authentic Asian cuisine at Sushi with Gusto in FSU’s 1851 dining hall on West Jefferson Street. That’s also where the popular Tally Mac Shack has set up its newest diner.
Florida State and Seminole Dining/Sodexo wanted to bring a successful local restaurant to campus to offer the FSU community a taste of local culture, and the partners picked Tally Mac Shack to fulfill that goal.
Owner Justo Cruz, who earned a graduate degree in criminology from FSU in 2016, has navigated an ambitious path on his way to becoming a food entrepreneur. He traded his state job to pursue what he describes as an entrepreneurial adventure. His goal was to create a business selling one of America’s simplest and most iconic comfort foods: mac and cheese. But his distinctive recipes turned the classic dish into a gourmet meal.
Cruz traded his prized Nissan Armada for a 1976 Frito Lay potato chip truck, converted the old vehicle into a food truck, and Tally Mac Shack was born in 2017.
“We deliberately did not put any hashtags or web addresses on the truck because we actually wanted to make it difficult for customers to find us, which is completely contrary to conventional marketing wisdom,” Cruz said. “We knew if a customer went to the trouble of tracking us down, then we’d know we had a good product.”
Cruz quickly got that confirmation. Tally Mac Shack’s recipes started winning awards, loyal customers tracked the food truck all over Tallahassee and thousands more followed the business on social media.
Cruz attributes the business’ early success to its unwavering commitment to use gourmet ingredients. That distinction has helped Tally Mac Shack redefine the age-old comfort food.
“We do mac and cheese differently than what many people expect,” Cruz said. “We get the best cheeses from Vermont and Wisconsin because those are premier cheese-producers. Everything we make is from scratch. We grind our cheese. We match our cheeses to proteins. We customize recipes, and that’s what separates us from normal mac and cheese.”
Freshman Brandon Pekale has noticed the difference. He has become a regular customer, and his newfound allegiance to Tally Mac Shack even surprises him.
“There’s something different about their cheese,” he said. “Normally, I’m not a big mac and cheese guy, but this is fresh, and it tastes good.”
Tally Mac Shack FSU serves a half dozen customized recipes, including the “Clucking Ranch,” a ranch-infused cheddar macaroni topped with buffalo chicken. Another fan favorite is the “Snortin’ Nortin” with Vermont sharp cheddar, smoked gouda, 12-hour smoked pulled pork and barbecue sauce.
They’re also customizable. Customers can build their own meals with an option called “Mac It Your Way.” For those who prefer Cruz’s culinary creativity, the menu includes specialty dishes called “Mac It Our Way.”\
“We live in a time when customers want options, so we’ve created two types of menus,” he said. “Mac It Our Way offers dishes with ingredients that have been very successful in Tallahassee, and the Mac It Your Way offers customers a chance to explore different options to make their own unique creations.”
The Tally Mac Shack also operates a new venue at Doak Campbell Stadium that fires up during football games in Section 33. In addition, the food truck motors around FSU’s campus for pop-up events, and another brick-and-mortar restaurant operates at South Adams Street and FAMU Way.
The Tally Mac Shack at FSU is open every day from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.
1851’s second new restaurant is Sushi with Gusto, which becomes the company’s first full-service restaurant in Tallahassee. The national franchise operates more than 300 sushi bars across the country, and it has built a reputation as a leading provider of traditional Asian cuisine. All menu items are cooked, and many are served hot.
Manager Kody Kieliszewski said the menu offers something for everyone, even if you don’t eat sushi.
“We understand some people are iffy about sushi, but just because it’s called sushi does not mean it’s raw meat,” Kieliszewski said. “Currently, all of our food is cooked thoroughly. We will eventually add raw proteins, but right now all proteins are cooked. We also have chicken teriyaki bowls and more, so everyone has an option.”
Sushi with Gusto trains chefs to use a bit of artistry to create dishes that are both dazzling and delicious.
“All head chefs go to corporate headquarters in South Carolina, and they train with the company’s executive chefs,” Kieliszewski said. “When they return to their restaurants, they make sure chefs follow proven protocols to ensure quality and consistency.”
Sushi with Gusto serves a variety of sushi rolls, rice bowls and vegetarian options. The menu includes set recipes and build-your-own options.
“If customers want to create their own rice bowl, they can get it,” he said. “Price varies based on what you put in your bowl. We have about 15 set menu items, but you get endless possibilities if you’d rather create your own.”
Sushi with Gusto is open every day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Seminole Dining is committed to bringing a FSUnique dining experience to all Seminoles. For more information, visit, https://seminoledining.sodexomyway.com
Sodexo USA is an American business that is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Delivering more than 100 services across North America that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life, Sodexo is a leading provider of sustainable, integrated facilities management and food service operations.
It employs 123,000 Americans at 12,500 sites across the country and indirectly supports tens of thousands of additional U.S. jobs through its annual purchases of $9.2 billion in goods and services from small to large American businesses.
In support of local communities across the U.S., the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation has contributed close to $30 million over the past 20 years to help feed children in America impacted by hunger.