The simple desire to “eat better meat” lured Chris “Mac” McKenzie away from an IT career and into the food biz, first as a premium beef and pork supplier at Mac’s Local Buys, and now as the proprietor of Mac’s Local Eats (now inside Bluewood Brewing Company at 1821 Cherokee). His secret? All the beef cuts (even the tenderloins) are used to make Mac’s signature ground beef blend, which results in lusty, beefy smashburgers stacked as high as you dare.
How did you get your start in the restaurant business? My very first job was at McDonald’s, which is kind of amusing considering my nickname and what I’m doing now.
What other careers did you consider? I started off designing punch presses and dies for my dad’s manufacturing plant, but eventually got into technical support as a system admin. One day I decided I just wanted to eat better meat, so I started researching buying whole, clean animals. The first animal I bought—a Red Wattle pig in 2004—I split with 11 friends.
So that’s how Mac’s Local Buys got started? No, at first it was just me. Any time I wanted some pork or beef, I emailed friends and asked who wanted in, charitably organizing those buys for six years. Over that time, the buy list grew to over 300 people, which meant buying a dozen animals at a time. We’d meet in a park—everybody with their coolers—and divvy it all up.