Sweet Lorraine’s Fabulous Mac n’ Cheez!, a chef-driven, fast-casual dining concept that specializes in unique and creative macaroni and cheese dishes, opened its first Chicago-area restaurant, which launched a rapid expansion plan the company says will bring as many as 10 locations in the next few years.

The first restaurant opened in the thriving Marketplace at Vernon Hills this February. It is owned and operated by local businessman Jeff Huh, who has already committed to opening two additional locations in Schaumburg and Evanston in 2016.

"This is an incredibly exciting time for our brand," says Lorraine Platman, founder of the Detroit-based franchise. "Having already established a loyal following of customers throughout Michigan, we're finally bringing our 'twisted comfort food' to other markets in the Midwest and can’t wait to share our mouth-watering, cheezy pick-me-ups with the people of Chicago."

Sweet Lorraine’s offers customers 14 different kinds of meat-topped and vegetarian macaroni and cheese dishes in two sizes (mini or mega), all made to order in less than two minutes. Many of the variations are favorites from other realms: the BLT, the Philly Cheesesteak, Buffalo Chicken, the Pepperoni Pizza, the Fiesta Fajita, Pulled Pork BBQ Mac, the Detroit Coney Dog, and the Macho Nacho. Guests can also mix and match from over 38 topping choices to create more than 1.7 billion palate pleasing combinations.

All the dishes start with twisted curly noodles made from 100 percent durum wheat, which Italians insist on using for their pasta. The noodles are tossed in cheese sauce that Sweet Lorraine’s makes using locally sourced cheddar cheese. Once they’ve have had a chance to frolic in the sauce, diners can customize their dish, before it is broiled to “bubbly perfection.”

In addition to specialty mac and cheese dishes, Sweet Lorraine’s offers a variety of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free soups, salads, healthy wraps, twisted grilled cheese, and desserts.

“Consumers are tired of the wings, pizza, and burgers that seem to be found around every corner. They want fun, high-quality food on the go that is also going to satisfy their craving for the classics,” Huh says. “After trying Sweet Lorraine’s for myself, I knew it would be a hit and exactly what is needed in Chicago’s diverse fast casual marketplace.”

The Chicagoland expansion comes merely nine months after Sweet Lorraine’s announced an aggressive growth strategy to expand outside of its Michigan hub. While the growth will likely stay in the Midwest, it will push beyond the region over the next several years. Company plans call for having 100 restaurants nationwide in the next five years.

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