Where the tables have names

Matt's El RanchoSometimes the chairs have had names, too. The staff recognizes familiar faces and remembers familiar names. We used a gift certificate yesterday at Matt’s. The parking lot looked very busy, but the place is much bigger than it appears to be, and there’s always room for yet another diner or for yet another table of a dozen and half, if necessary. We were seated at “Cactus Pryor” in the midst of a lot of four-generation parties. As new people walked in, they often spied friends and asked to have a table pulled up to join the existing group. One of the reasons I love Matt’s El Rancho, which has been a favorite since the days when it was downtown, is that, even if a favorite item disappears from the printed menu, it’s still available if you ask for it, usually still in the computerized order-placement system, even. At Matt’s, a request for a margarita straight up with no salt does not bring a “Mexican martini” complete with olives on a little plastic sword. It brings a classic margarita in a glass without a salted rim. There’s a breakast menu these days, which remains available until fairly late in the day. The plastic dishes have been gone for a long time, making way for Fiestaware, but Matt’s still feels like a home away from home, where it’s rare not to see a friend or acquaintance or face from the newspapers.

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