Romano’s Macaroni Grill has been a fixture on the US culinary scene since its founding in 1988. Along with Olive Garden, it has consistently been ranked as one of the most popular Italian-American restaurant chains. Of course, it doesn’t come close to pizza chains like Domino’s and Pizza Hut, but if it’s authentic Italian cuisine you want, Macaroni Grill has what you need.
This is fresh and exciting food, a rare taste of authentic Mediterranean cuisine in the United States, and one that has also spread to a handful of other countries around the world.
Year Founded: 1988
Locations: Approximately 200
Style: Italian American
Macaroni Grill History
Just a year after it was founded, the brand’s franchise rights were sold to Brinker International, who also own Chili’s. This wasn’t the first time that the brand was sold though.
In fact, between 2013 and 2015, Macaroni Grill changed hands several times. It had been owned by Golden Gate Capital, who bought it off Brinker International in 2008 (Brinker retained a small share of the company). In 2013, it was sold to the Ignite Restaurant Group for $55 million. This was an amount that surprised many, as it was considered to be somewhat on the low side. After all, a year after receiving that sum for Macaroni grill, Golden Gate Capital spent over $2 billion acquiring Red Lobster.
But as it turned out, this sum may have been a little on the heavy side. Because in 2015 the brand was sold to Redrock Partners for just $8 million. Simply put, the brand didn’t deliver as the owners thought it would. It was a disaster, but one that allowed Macaroni Grill’s new owners to scoop a bargain.
Macaroni Grill Menu
Good olive oil is the basis for all Mediterranean cuisine, and it also serves as the foundation of the Macaroni Grill menu. This is Italian-American cuisine, but with more of a focus on authentic Mediterranean food than many other restaurants offering similar food. They sell all kinds of pastas, chicken dishes, vegetables dishes and more. You can even create your own pasta, choosing from a selection of ingredients like you would when making ice cream at the Cold Stone Creamery or sandwiches at Subway.
All dishes come with a side order of good olive oil and good bread. These two food staples are enjoyed across Italy, Greece and Spain. It’s something that many casual dining locations don’t focus enough on, but something that is authentic, simple and extraordinary at the same time.
You can also find pizza on the Macaroni Grill menu, everyone’s favorite Italian-American dish. These are a little less authentic. Italian pizza tends to be more of a light snack, and one that is focused on the three basic ingredients (basil, cheese and tomato, the colors of the Italian flag), than a huge meal with loads of toppings. As a result, you’re more likely to get something that could be found on the Papa John’s menu or the Domino’s menu, as opposed to a menu in a traditional Naples pizzeria.
Packaged Macaroni Grill Dishes
Just like White Castle and a few other big chains, Macaroni Grill food is not confined to their restaurants. They package it up and sell it in stores across the United States. These frozen meals are labelled as being made from “100% Natural Ingredients” and there are all kinds of entrees and main meals to choose from.
These meals are produced by General Mills, and few US companies understand the food industry better than they do. They have been in operation since the 1850s and also help to deal with operations for the following brands:
- Betty Crocker
- Green Giant
- Lucky Charms
- Old El Passo
Macaroni Grill Secret Menu
When you have a chain with just a couple hundred locations, the secret menu is usually on the small side. And the Macaroni Grill secret menu is no different. There isn’t a great deal to this hidden menu, but we can guarantee that if there are Macaroni Grill secret menu hacks out there, then you will find them on this site.
Just click onto the Macaroni Grill secret menu link and see what’s available. This is updated regularly and as soon as something is announced, you can find it there. If you know anything that might be of interest and deserves to be included on the Macaroni Grill secret menu, then please get in touch and let us know.
Macaroni Grill Nutrition and Calories
The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest diets in the world. It contains an abundance of healthy fails, slow-releasing carbs, fiber and all kinds of vitamins. Of course, in a restaurant setting, you lose some of that goodness. They still use the same ingredients and all the goodness is there, but they are a little more generous with the oil, the salt and the sugar than you might be at home.
Still, this is good, hearty and healthy food for the most part. If you’re watching your weight and are strictly concerned with counting calories, then you might want to avoid some of their pasta and pizza dishes. If this is the case then there is a “Lite” option on the Macaroni Grill menu. This contains many popular dishes, but the servings are a little smaller and there is less fat, less salt and fewer calories.
They can also help if you have special dietary requirements. This applies whether you are gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian or you have allergies. To learn more about these special diets and to see the calorie content of all Macaroni Grill menu items, read our Macaroni Grill Nutrition Info page.
Macaroni Grill Menu Prices
If you want the best, you have to pay a little more for it. There are cheaper options on the Macaroni Grill menu, but you can also pay more to get more. As mentioned above, Italian food is built upon good bread and good oil. But they also enjoy aged balsamic vinegar, the best coffee, mature cheeses and more. And if you want to sample all of this for yourself, you have to pay for it.
If you drop-by during lunch, you can take advantage of their Lunch Time specials. These give you a three-course meal off a specific menu for around $10, a price you would usually pay for some of their better and bigger main meals.
To see more, read our guide on Macaroni Grill Menu Prices. We update this as often as we can, so you can always stay on top of the latest menu changes and the latest special offers.
Macaroni Grill Locations
The original location still stands, but it no longer carries the Romano’s name. Instead, it operates as an independent restaurant known as The Grill at Leon Springs.
However, this hasn’t done anything to hurt sales or progression. In under 30 years they have expanded into several other states and they also have locations around the world. They began franchising in 2002, but there are many more company owned locations than there are franchise locations. In total, there are over 200 restaurants around the world, and along with the United States, you can find this Italian-American chain in all of the following countries:
- Puerto Rico
- United Arab Emirates
Macaroni Grill Happy Hour
If you can’t resist a bargain, then make sure you drop by your local restaurant during Happy Hour. You can find out just when these hours are on our Macaroni Grill Happy Hour page. You should also drop by our Macaroni Grill Coupon page to see if there are any offers, coupons, free food and more available.
Macaroni Grill Jobs and Careers
Big chains have a lot of potential for upwards mobility. Many managerial roles and even CEO positions are filled by people who once worked tossing burgers or serving food. That’s not as true with casual dining locations like this one. They tend to focus more on outside talent. However, you can still make a very good wage as a manager if you have the talent and you can also make a respectable wage as a server, most of which comes from tips.
Macaroni Grill Store Hours
Macaroni Grill store hours differ depending on location. But in most cases they open just before noon and close just before midnight. They are open 7 days a week, but these hours are typically reduced on Sunday. The hours may also be reduced during certain holidays, especially during Christmas day.