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(PHX) What's the big deal with Matt's Big Breakfast?

Tried Matt's Big Breakfast this weekend, and while everything we tried was fine, nothing really stood out as "wow! what a great meal" moment.

The waffles were ok, the salami scramble was a bit salty and the eggs a bit overcooked but nonetheless tasty. But everyone thought the bacon that Matt's serves is just off -- tasted too much like ham. I think the best thing we had there was the combination of a big bowl of oatmeal coupled with a glass of cold buttermilk.

When we left and drove up 7th St., we couldn't help but wonder what exactly separated Matt's from Carrow's, or IHop, or any other breakfast diner place.

And, really, what makes Matt's Big Breakfast so "big"?


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  1. Matt's appeal was lost on us as well, but we appear to be in the minority.

    1. The main thing that separates Matt's is the ingredients they use. The pork products come in from the pork place out in Queen Creek, I'm pretty sure they get their produce from McClendon's, et cetera. It's a darn good breakfast, but I don't really go there all that much anymore. My most frequent place lately is Ranch House Grille on 56th Street and Thomas (Oh man, the green chile covered chicken fried steak is incredible!).

      1. I think Matt's is overrated for a different reason: I don't want a porky, buttery breakfast, and Matt's offers so few options for a more healthful breakfast. Yes, he uses fresh local ingredients, but they're not necessarily ingredients I want to eat in large quantities no matter how artisanal their sources. Franky, I think many fans of Matt's are just so happy to support a thriving independent Downtown business that some suspension of judgment may be occurring.

        1 Reply
        1. re: silverbear

          I with you, SB. I think the menu is just flat-out boring. I have to give them credit for using real maple syrup, but, neither the cakes nor waffles sound the least bit creative.

          In another life, I used to have breakfast at a place that served ten-grain cakes made with sourdough starter, eggs with a variety of whole beans and avocado salsa. I could really get something that was both good, and, at least, borderline healthy. I don't go out for breakfast very often in the Phoenix area. As much as I love it, I can only eat so much lard. And that seems to be the chief ingredient in my favorite Phoenix breakfasts.

        2. We enjoyed our breakfast at Matt's the morning we went...with the exception of the hash browns. UGH. I know there are fans of these things but greasy and mushy and not something I ever again want to put in my mouth.

          We liked the bacon but are fans of the Pork Shop and buy it for home as well. I forget exactly what we ordered but they were egg dishes and we thought they were both good. I remember liking the toast and jam a lot.

          Not fine dining and not healthy eating but it's not pretending to be either. We don't frequent(have only been once actually)...don't think it's necessarily worth a long drive or a long wait but if we're in the neighborhood, hungry and there's not 8 milllion people waiting to get in the door we'd stop in again...

          2 Replies
          1. re: ziggylu

            The home fries are miles ahead of the hash browns. The problem with their hash browns is that they shred their own potatoes for them. If you don't wring excess water out of freshly shredded potatoes that are going to become hash browns, they turn gluey inside like the ones at Matt's.

            1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

              Sure, as soon as I tasted them I knew what the problem was...but...I still can't understand why they serve them. Seriously, they're terrible.

          2. lets see - locally sourced organic items, superlative quality ingredients, no sysco trucks in sight...esp since most of the local purveyors eat there as well so you're likely to see bob mclendon, the guy who grew the oranges that were freshly squeezed FOR YOU right before serving..never had that happen at a chain place.

            i could go on but there's nothing to me about matt's that says ihop or carrows.

            12 Replies
            1. re: winedubar

              I'm not faulting Matt's for the ingredients that they use. Rather, I just don't think it tastes all that much better than a run-of-the-mill diner.

              And, really, as to seeing McClendon or anyone else in particular, I could care less. I go to a restaurant to dine, not to gawk at famous people, real or otherwise.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Hmm...I don't know that anyone has equated the unusual experience of meeting the farmer who grew part of your breakfast with celebrity gawking.

                1. re: hohokam

                  lol... i love the thought of celebrity farmers. Why not? we have celebrity chefs :)

                2. re: ipsedixit

                  no one is asking you to gawk at rockstars - you miss the point. the point is that the attention and care given to the food by the people who produced it (whether its the mclendon select produce, or terra preservers, etc) is clearly something you won't ever see at ihop - where their ingredients get unloaded of a sysco truck. not the same thing.

                  1. re: winedubar

                    Granted that may be the case, but I don't taste that much of a difference.

                    Again, I'm not faulting Matt's for the ingredients (in fact, I find it laudable that the place is using local, sustainable sources). It's just that even with those ingredients, the food isn't appreciably better tasting.

                    As to the "gawking at famouse people" comment, that was in direct reference to seeing McClendon at the joint. Who cares?? Whether McClendon or whoever else shows up at Matt's will not alter my dining experience. It's just a non sequitur in my opinion.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Who is this McClendon person and why is he a big deal?

                        1. re: mamamia

                          hi mama,

                          he's a kick ass farmer, and a super down to earth guy. my original point wasn't that matt's is a place to gawk at hipsters. a poster said there's no difference between matt's and ihop. my point was ihop unloads their food from the back of big giant food service delivery trucks...

                          matt's has real food from real people. who are probably right there eating next to you..its an attention to detail and care with your food, not just hte preparation, the growing too :)

                          1. re: winedubar

                            Thanks for the info, winedubar.
                            I only wish he went to the public market downtown. I'm lazy with kids in tow, so unless vendors are at the market closest to me, it's just too hard for me to seek them out.

                            Market opens at 8am on Saturdays. I arrive at 7:50 and there's already a crowd at Matt's. I can never catch a break.

                            1. re: mamamia

                              i'm with you there.....i'd love to have him downtown too...

                        2. re: ipsedixit

                          you're still missing the point, dude..its not about gawking famous people..its the fact that there's care and attention to detail to ingredients..

                          feel free to not go again, it keeps the line shorter for those of us who like it :)

                          1. re: winedubar

                            "feel free to not go again, it keeps the line shorter for those of us who like it :)"


                            LOL. Again, my post wasn't meant to be a slam on Matt's. Just an inquiry as to it's popularity. Different strokes, different folks.

                  2. Have to admit, we've tried to go several times, but the people milling around outside always indicates a wait.
                    I called once when they first opened and was told they don't have high chairs or boosters. Have kids, must eat.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: mamamia

                      Wow. Didn't know about that aspect. It seem ironic that Phoenix leaders talk about the need to have more people living Downtown while some of Downtown's most celebrated restaurants are unaccommodating of families. Palatte, despite the issues I have with its fast-casual service model and long waits on the weekends, at least has high chairs.

                      1. re: silverbear

                        I'm not sure if you could wedge a high chair into Matt's -- it's barely larger than Welcome Diner; a toy restaurant. I agree, BTW, with the porky/buttery comment, although that by itself doesn't indict Matt's. I either go for that kind of breakfast once or twice a year or go elsewhere. Matt's food is good -- just not good enough to stand in line

                        1. re: misohungrychewlow

                          Agreed. I don't fault anyone for eating at Matt's if already in the area. It just bugs me when I hear people talk about it in such glowing terms that it sounds worth a drive from Buckeye or Apache Junction. It's not. It's a neighborhood restaurant modeled after East Coast greasy spoons -- nothing more, nothing less.

                          1. re: silverbear

                            personally i think its worth the drive. the foods great, its all fresh, and its all made to order.

                            i don't think i understand some of your objections to matts. its called 'big breakfast' because thats's what he serves. faulting a place for what they DON"T server is odd to me. a restaurant, any restaurant, couldn't possibly accommodate every single idea about what every single person things they should be serving.

                            maybe we have a different philosophy of dining - i go out for a particular restaurant is serving, not what i wish they would server or how i wish they should serve it...thats why i appreciate variety..if i wanted healthy, there's always the nurse's bialy breakfast at the good egg ;)

                            1. re: winedubar

                              I certainly don't expect a restaurant to be all things to all people, but it's still nice to have some options on the menu. The Fry Bread House is obviously known best for its fry bread tacos. 90% of customers probably order them. Nevertheless, FBH has several leaner items on the menu. At Matt's, lighter options are basically just the oatmeal and fruit. I think the restaurant could do a little better than that without compromising its core mission.

                              1. re: winedubar

                                I live at Dobson/Ray...a good 25 miles from Matt's. I gave Matt's a favorable review here when we went last summer because I do think it was a good breakfast.

                                But it's definitely not worth regularly drivign from my house. in the end, it's a greasy spoon breakfast. A GOOD greasy spoon breakfast -yes(except those hash browns!) but that's it. Combine the long drive and the waits that are usually entailed and no...it's not worth extra effort.

                                In the neighborhood and the line isn't too bad...sure thing give it a try!

                        2. re: mamamia

                          We go to Matt's on the weekends and we bring our kids, they do have high chairs (I've used them) and if you have not had their pork tenderloin scramble, your missing out. Not something I see on the IHOP menu.

                          1. re: travelchow

                            Good to know about the high chairs. That might make it worth another try some time.

                        3. Thank goodness Matt's doesn't serve gelato!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Seth Chadwick

                            Ah, some levity to an otherwise over-heated debate!

                            1. re: Seth Chadwick

                              I was just thinking that!! Ah, the memories.

                              Or...if matt's was rated best breakfast in the country, but he didn't take reservations for less than 6, and typical wait times of 2+ hours. But you could wait at the little wine bar next door.
                              Wait, where am I?

                              1. re: Seth Chadwick

                                Seth dear, you know the power of that word around here, it's like Pandora's box!

                                1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                                  And if Matt's was owned by LGO.....forget about it!

                              2. Happy to finally get there for the first time this morning. Especially with all the ruckus.

                                Had the Hog & Chick. Definitely enjoyed it. Enjoyed the bacon & eggs and even the hash browns. I get what the folks are saying but I still liked them. While it wasn't a Binkley's experience, don't see how it really could be. It's a small breakfast place. Cool vibe. Great food. Not expensive. Good cofffee. Awesome, awesome fresh squeezed orange juice. Tried the sister's special (ham, provolone, local spinach omelet). That was yummy as well. The spinach was awesome.

                                Understand silverbear's point about the lack of healthy items but I also get that's not what Matt's is about. Can't expect everything everywhere. For pete's sake, my health conscious wife & in-laws (3 out of a party of 5), all ordered granola at Bouchon! Only got to sample a couple things. : )

                                I'll definitely go back.