Sophie Bolich

Giant Mozzarella Sticks Concept Coming to 3rd Street Market Hall

Rod & Makk, a combination of Makk'n'Cheese and Alphonso's, will offer mac and cheese, other comfort foods.

By - Jul 13th, 2023 12:37 pm
Lightning Rod Mozzarella Sticks. Photo courtesy of 3rd Street Market Hall.

Lightning Rod Mozzarella Sticks. Photo courtesy of 3rd Street Market Hall.

Two Milwaukee restaurateurs are joining forces to bring “giant” mozzarella sticks, mac and cheese and other comfort dishes to 3rd Street Market Hall.

Makk’n’Cheese owner Gregory Kieckbusch and Alphonso’s The Original Pizzeria owner Tim Szuta will open Rod & Makk at the downtown food hall, 275 W. Wisconsin Ave.

The new restaurant is expected to open within the coming months inside the former Supernova Coffee & Doughnuts, which relocated within the hall in early June to combine with fellow sweets purveyor Mid-Way Bakery.

Kieckbusch and Szuta have a long history — the industry veterans have known each other since high school, but the new venture will be their first as business partners.

“We’re looking forward to coming together for 3rd Street Market Hall, as we feel the combined effort will bolster the best of our brands,” Kieckbusch and Szuta said in a statement.

Rod & Makk’s will serve a selection of fan favorites from the partners’ existing restaurants. Several varieties of mac and cheese, including the classic Makk Daddy, Mexican-inspired Elote Makk and BBQ Pulled Pork Makk will be available, as well as Alphonso’s comically large Lightning Rod Mozzarella Sticks.

Measuring a foot long and several inches thick, the fried cheese logs are handmade with Wisconsin mozzarella and coated in garlicky breadcrumbs. The sticks have become an online sensation across multiple social media channels, racking up millions of views on Tik Tok and Instagram.

The 3rd Street Market stall will also offer a spicy version of the popular mozzarella sticks, the Hot Rod.

3rd Street Market leadership announced in April that the food hall was at near-capacity for the first time since its January 2022 opening. The addition of Rod & Makk would leave just two hawker stalls open.

While food halls typically serve as incubators for up-and-coming food businesses, it’s not unheard of for established restaurateurs to trial a new concept or open a satellite location within a food hall. Kieckbusch and Szuta will follow in the footsteps of Kawa, Kompali and other existing businesses that have expanded their footprint by opening vendor stalls in the downtown market.

An opening date and hours of operation for Rod & Makks will be announced at a later date.

Existing locations for both Alphonso’s and Makk’n’Cheese are expected to continue operating as usual, following the launch of the upcoming restaurant. The flagship location for Makk’n’Cheese, located in Bay View, is slated to officially call it quits later this summer.

The restaurant, 2242 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., provides bar snacks for the Blind Tiger, a co-located speakeasy-style cocktail lounge. Both businesses will soon close to make way for a new concept, Pink Agave.


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Categories: Food & Drink

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