Stand by Plano, Bob Armstrong is headed your way: Matt's Rancho Martinez, the venerable Tex-Mex chain founded in Dallas in 1985, is opening a location in Plano at 2001 W. Spring Creek Pkwy., at the northeast corner of Custer Road.
According to owner Matt Martinez III, the restaurant will open in the fall.
They're going into a stand-alone building that's been home to such bars as The Local Public House and Bullwinkle's, way back when. Most recently, it was W.W. Fairfield's, which closed in July 2020.
Martinez says that they've been able to navigate through the pandemic thanks to their longevity and the support of the community. At one point, they had five restaurants, but there are currently three other locations, in Lakewood, Garland, and Royce City.
"We've just been trying to get through this crazy world," Martinez says. "We've been around many years so we're used to the ups and downs, and therefore were maybe a little more equipped than some places to withstand the past year. We have strong roots in a community that supported us. We were doing things like 2-for-1 just to keep our staff employed and give customers something to eat."
Matt's was founded in 1985 by Estella and Matt Martinez Jr., who opened the original branch in Lakewood. They're known for chiles rellenos and especially their signature Bob Armstrong dip with queso and seasoned beef.
Matt Martinez III took over after his father, Matt Jr., died in 2009, and he has not been afraid to expand. He's seen the company through some rocky changes, including the uprooting of its original branch in the heart of Lakewood, which moved to Skillman Street in 2012, after getting bumped by Mi Cocina.
This is not their first foray into Collin County. They had had a branch in Allen but that closed in February 2014.
"The landlord wasn't able to get anything to work in that location in Allen, and invited us to take a shot at it," Martinez says. "The city committed to putting an exit ramp there to make it easier to get to, but that didn't happen until after we left."
"But even with it being less than accessible, we had steady business, and we've always wanted to have something open for our customers north of Dallas," he says.
They're currently doing a remodel to give the space that Matt's flair. The space comes with a great patio and loads of parking.
"We'll do our traditional menu and have a full bar but this one will be a smaller footprint, which is the direction we're going," he says.