World Famous House of Mac, a Miami-based restaurant frequented by celebrities and professional athletes like Pitbull, Rihanna, ASAP Rocky, Serena Williams and Dwyane Wade, is opening a location in Orlando’s SoDo district.
Founder Derrick “Chef Teach” Turton, Pitbull’s former manager turned restauranteur, has plans to open his first location outside of Miami in a vacant, 1,800-square-foot retail unit near the Pulse Interim Memorial, broker Mark Arnold with KW Commercial told GrowthSpotter.
“This is their entry into the market area,” he said. “The retail storefronts up and down Orange Avenue have changed so much in the last three years and it’s getting busier and busier...They certainly wanted to be part of the market and understood the value and scope of the market share.”
The site, a former Pizza Hut store that closed last summer, is located within a roughly 10,500-square-foot retail center at 2423 S. Orange Ave. next to a Foxtail Coffee shop. The owner, Orange Avenue Commons LLC, is tied to Maury L. Carter & Associates.
Arnold said Orlando’s SoDo district is desirable due to its closeness to downtown, but it can also stand on its own as an emerging destination for food and culture. “There’s a lot going on there,” he said.
World Famous House of Mac started off as a food truck concept that quickly exploded into a smash mac and cheese joint known for its comforting cheesy pies, crispy fried chicken wings and celebrity attention.
Its seafood mac and cheese contains the chef’s five-cheese mac and cheese topped with a split seven-ounce grilled lobster tail, shrimp, cheddar jack cheese and bread crumbs, baked until golden brown.
It’s unclear when Turton will be opening the restaurant. He wasn’t immediately available to comment on the story.
He managed Miami rapper Pitbull’s career for over 10 years before leaving the industry and starting a food truck operation around 2014 - where his World Famous House of Mac concept was born.
Today, the restaurant has locations in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood as well as North Miami Beach and Doral. It also sells vacuum-sealed, frozen dishes online with shipping across the U.S., according to its website.
Arnold said total retail rents in Orlando’s SoDo district could range between $30 per square foot to $50 per square foot a year. “It’s not cheap,” he said. “Retail is in high demand.”
He believes the sudden uptick in the economy after a roughly two-year downturn period sparked an interest for small business owners to grow their operations. “We get calls all day, daily, from folks looking to enter the market,” he said. “That’s putting pressure on inventory.”
At the same time, he adds, rates are increasing because retail buildings are being sold at higher rates, “so consequently new owners are expecting to raise rents on recently purchased buildings.”
The SoDo area is also growing its number of residential units. Just this week GrowthSpotter reported that Miami-based Triton North is near completing 23, 3-story townhomes in the area and gearing up for its second community in the district that will feature 25 townhomes.
Tampa-based Icon Residential built the 23-unit SoDo Place townhomes on Grant Street in 2017. The following year Venue Investments converted a former auto body shop on W. Jersy Street into a multiphased brownstone-style townhouse community where individual units are currently selling for $530,000.