• 72°

Open soon: CheesyMac Deli to open in downtown LaGrange

Matthew and Lynsay Oleson are about to open a business in downtown LaGrange, but as important as that is, it’s not even the most exciting thing going on in their life right now. 

There will be a day soon when CheesyMac Deli is busy making sandwiches for a line of customers, but this week the couple is expecting its second child, a girl to be named Summer, to be born Saturday.

CheesyMac, a new sandwich and macaroni and cheese-focused deli, will open on Saturday, Feb. 27 on Bull Street. 

 It wasn’t originally planned for Summer’s arrival and the restaurant’s opening date to fall so close to one another, but that’s just the way it’s worked out.

Even as hectic as it’s been, the Olesons are loving every minute of it.

“The stress is definitely there, but I thrive off of it more than letting it scare me,” Oleson said. “It pushes my limits as a professional and to see what I can and can’t do.”

It’s a big change to go from selling gourmet ice cream pops — his last business venture — to sandwiches and mac and cheese, but Oleson has done the work.  

He started a 120-page notebook about six months ago with every detail he could think of about the CheesyMac project.  

All but four pages have been filled with notes, thoughts, next steps and every detail needed for this development. 

“A lot of people see the end result,” Oleson said. “They say ‘why didn’t I think of that’ or ‘I should’ve done that.’ Or, ‘it must be nice to just get to sell sandwiches for a living.’ But it’s easy to see the end result and not understand the minutiae and the little details that go into it and the stress as well. All of that coupled with a new baby coming, it is certainly scary.”

The CheesyMac menu includes 14 sandwiches, six CheesyMac bowls, six salads and specials like having half a sandwich and some CheesyMac.

“My favorite things are sandwiches,” Oleson said. “Sandwiches to me — and I tell everybody this — are like artwork. The bread is your canvas.”

The menu includes catchy names, such as The Marquis, named after Marquis de Lafayette. 

The sandwich is CheesyMac’s take on a classic French dip with roast beef and swiss on a hoagie.

Others are “The Dad Joke” — the cheesiest grilled cheese — “That’s No Buffalo,” and “90 Miles South” among many others.

CheesyMac bowls include the “10 Gallon Hat” — a mixture of pulled pork, pickled red onions, pickles and BBQ sauce, “Bacon Love” — cheddar and lots of bacon, and “The Barnyard” — chicken, bacon, pickled red onions and ranch.

Oleson said the plan is to add a floating table and add some seating to provide space for 30 to 32 people — during normal, non-pandemic times. 

The restaurant will be open Monday through Wednesday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. It will be located at 120 Bull Street in LaGrange. 

“Every person that comes to that door is bringing the baggage of life with them. And when they come to that door, our job is to take that baggage off their shoulders a little bit, whether it’s you know, them seeing the menu and smiling and thinking it’s funny, the high quality of customer service, or the quality of our food, we want them to come in here and experience just a little bit of joy to make their day just a little bit better,” Oleson said. “And if we’ve done that, and we’ve done our job.”

And as far as the new baby is concerned, Oleson is thankful that his family — wife, Lynsay; 2-year-old son, Foster; and incoming daughter, Summer — have kept him grounded as they start the new business venture. 

“I think that’s what keeps me sane and grounded at the same time knowing that, yes, business is here. I have to operate it,” Oleson said. “But they’re more important. And the reason I’m doing the business is for them in the first place.”