Yesterday we ran Part 1 of our interview with Matt King of Mattie’S Diner. Here’s Part 2.
Charlotte Burger Blog: You mentioned that you cut your hair for Ronald McDonald’s House, you guys do a lot of charity, right?
Matt King: We do a lot of little things, with schools and sports teams.
Charlotte Burger Blog: You were in a hockey game, weren’t you?
Matt King: Oh yeah, I forgot about that. That was the Hemby Cup for Levine’s Children’s Hospital. That’s a yearly hockey game. That’s a lot of fun. We try to stay involved. That’s one of the things I always said I would do. If I made it, I would give back a little back. I’m not a rich guy, but we like to be involved. We try. We did a car wash for the Greenville Youth Center the other day. We sponsor the Myer’s Elementary Folders. We try to do a little something.
Charlotte Burger Blog: We definitely want to talk to you about all the bands that come in. That’s pretty awesome. You get to meet pretty much everybody. I guess every band that comes sees the place is like, “I want to eat there.”
Matt King: A lot of them, yeah. It’s probably a good 80% of them. Like, Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson did not come in. But we still get a lot of guys coming in.
Charlotte Burger Blog: It seems like you get a certain kind of band.
Matt: It’s interesting. We get a lot of the hard rock guys come over. Hard Rock guys, man, they come in the morning and they’re in and out three or four times a day. I’m getting to know the tour managers now, they talk to each other. It’s a big deal. When those guys go out on the road, if you’re out there all the time good food is something that you miss. You get tired of eating $50 steaks all the time, cause it’s just not what you want, or you get tired of eating Burger King every day. They want some just decent home-cooked meals. And they tell them, “Go across the street.”
So, yeah, it’s worked out really well. You know, Flogging Molly has come by. And Social Distortion. It’s a huge perk.
Charlotte Burger Blog: It’s almost de rigueur at this point. It’s like, “Oh, there’s another band…”
Matt: My favorite was Tesla, though. It was the only one that got me. Cause I grew up a big hair metal guy.
It’s a great perk for these guys, you know [the employees]. Their favorite bands come in. The guys from Hell Yeah came in. Vinnie Paul from Pantera came in. You get to meet a lot of these guys. [Points to a picture on the wall] And those guys right there, from the Gaslight Anthem, they’re all Jersey boys from where I’m from. And those guys were super cool. It’s shattered the image that these guys are untouchable. They’re just talented, and they make good money at it. That’s all it is. And it’s awesome because they’ll sit across the table, just like you guys, and they’ll tell you, “Look, you’re making people smile and happy the same way we do. We just do it on a bigger scale. But we all do the same thing with our talents.”
It’s cool, though, man. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Charlotte Burger Blog: This area was a lot different when you put the diner here. How has it changed?
Matt: Oh yeah. The landlords, the Lazes family and Ark Management, they have done such an incredible job. I mean, any other place I’ve ever been, the landlords you just give them some money, they collect their check, and they go. Not these guys, man. These guys market the hell out of the whole complex. It’s a little bit of a unique situation for them. They’re good guys. They have egos, in a good way. They’re like us, they want to successful. You guys want to do the best blog and the best reviews you can. I want to serve the best product and have the best diner. These guys want to have the best entertainment venue that’s possible. So they market the hell out of it. They bring us as much business as they can. They’re never shy of spending money. Take for instance, the concerts that are going on out front. Five dollars every Friday you can go see a concert. You get nine concerts for $35. They’re not current bands, but it’s bands that were popular in the 90’s.
Charlotte Burger Blog: I think I saw Ed Kowalczyk up there.
Matt: Yeah, that was last year. This year they got Tonic, the Spin Doctors. Dude, you buy the whole package you go see them for 4 bucks. You can’t even get into a bar anywhere for 4 bucks and listen to a crappy Saturday night band. You can go out and hang outside all night.
Charlotte Burger Blog: Those bands are going to cover these guys anyway.
And the guys have brought so much in here. Across the street a place called Automatic Slims is opening up in about 2 months. It’s a rock n’ roll, kind of , hip, white trash kind of place. Old rock n’ roll 50’s, 60’s look. Kind of like that bar, Jackrabbit Slims out of Pulp Fiction, sorta. It’s just a really cool place. The beer garden is doing very well. This area is booming. It’s really good for us. Believe me, I am ecstatic that we chose this place.
Things have been going really well for us. I’d love to do number two, for sure. I don’t think I ‘d do a diner, though. I don’t think I could handle more than one 24 hour place. And, believe it or not, I don’t know if people can tell, I’ve run a lot of different restaurant concepts, this menu is actually pretty difficult to produce on those two little flat tops. It really is. My goal is to have a few more places, but still burgers. Definitely burgers and ice cream, breakfast on the weekends only. And kind of take it from there, but stay funky as hell. It won’t be called Mattie’S. People will know that it’s related, but it would be different. This place has a certain funkyness, a certain edge to it. Especially at night time with the concerts and the musicians. We definitely want to keep that vibe going through the food and the servers and the staff and the culture and the attitude and everything.
Of course, after we stopped rolling our audio Matt told us a hilarious story involving Guy Fieri and a golf cart, but I guess we’ll have to just let you ask him about that. We wish Matt and the entire crew there at Mattie’S the best of luck. Since hearing him discuss his secret menu we had to come back and order a few items off of that. Come back next week when we revisit our Mattie’S review and to try some more burgers and see what has changed.