Emerging Oakland-based celebrity barbecue chef Matt Horn has made a name for himself transforming his popular pop-up concepts into full-fledged brick–and-mortar hit restaurants since his 2021 Michelin Bib Gourmand, 2021 Food & Wine Magazine Best New Chefs distinction, and 2022 James Beard semifinalist nomination. Horn’s West Oakland cult-hit Horn Barbecue started as a pop-up, and his fried chicken sandwich spot Kowbird was also initially a pop-up. His new burger concept Matty’s Old-Fashioned followed the same path, and the Chronicle reported in June 2021 that “burger spot Matty’s Old-Fashioned is slated for a mid-July opening at 464 8th St. in Old Oakland, next to beer bar the Trappist.”
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Obviously, nothing opens on schedule given the current precarious food service landscape. But the San Francisco Business Times reports that Matty’s Old-Fashioned is “close to opening” at the Downtown Oakland location that formerly housed New World Vegetarian restaurant.
“The restaurant is currently working out final details of staffing and training and plans to open later this spring or in early summer at its original 464 Eighth St. location,” the Business Times reports.
The reasons that Matty’s Old-Fashioned may be opening up to two years behind schedule could be explained by concerns voiced in an SFGate mini-exposé from this past October, which alleged “some distributors have stopped selling Horn meat until he pays what he owes,” “staff paychecks, too, have bounced,” and complaints of “persistent safety concerns surrounding the graveyard shift.” Many of these variables may be more common than we realize as restaurants struggle with massive inflation and a property crime wave. Though still, Horn seems to have understandably slowed his growth pace since, and three months of seemingly nonstop storms probably have not made opening a restaurant any easier.
But if your Matt Horn concept appetite can’t wait a couple more months until Matty’s Old-Fashioned opens, the Business Times reports the food truck Horn Trailer has been recently camped outside Horn Barbecue (2534 Mandela Parkway), “serving new fare including chopped cheese brisket and turkey sandwiches and burnt end sandos, operating Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.”