Queso Shut-Out

Bye-bye Bob Armstrong dip: Matt's Rancho Martinez shuts down Allen branch

Bye-bye Bob Armstrong dip: Matt's Rancho Martinez shuts down in Allen

Austin_photo: Places_Food_Matt's Famous El Rancho_queso
Behold the Bob Armstrong dip, which is no longer available in Allen. Photo by Crystal Esquivel
Matt's Rancho Martinez
Matt's also makes a worthy chicken-fried steak. Matt's Rancho Martinez/Facebook
Austin_photo: Places_Food_Matt's Famous El Rancho_queso
Matt's Rancho Martinez

The latest restaurant to suffer the Allen jinx, local Tex-Mex chain Matt's Rancho Martinez closed its branch in this far northern suburb last week, as confirmed by owner Matt Martinez III. "Unfortunately, our Allen location closed," Martinez said. "We tried to make it work but just weren't able to do it."

Matt's was founded in the '80s by his father, Matt Martinez Jr., who passed away in 2009. Though known for its chiles rellenos and signature Bob Armstrong dip with queso and seasoned beef, Matt's menu goes beyond trite Tex-Mex with specialties such as a worthy chicken-fried steak; frog legs; and the Smoked Bob and Sausage, with brisket, sausage, queso and flour tortillas.

Martinez III has seen the company through some rocky changes, including the uprooting of its original branch in the heart of Lakewood. That branch moved to Skillman Street in 2012, after getting bumped by Mi Cocina.

There are two other locations open in Garland and Cedar Hill, with two more in the wings, in Colleyville and Roanoke. According to a manager at the Lakewood location, Colleyville is about to open, and Roanoke is under construction. (UPDATE: Martinez said that the Colleyville location would be open in two to three weeks.)

But Allen hasn't been a lucky location for Dallas restaurants or restaurants in general, and Martinez chose not to renew the lease there, according to the Lakewood branch.

"Something happened with the lease, I think it came up?" the manager said. "We liked that location and were doing very well. We've been receiving a lot of calls from customers in Allen who are upset."