Matta's restaurant planned for Mesa Riverview - East Valley Tribune: News

Matta's restaurant planned for Mesa Riverview

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Posted: Saturday, October 10, 2009 8:37 pm | Updated: 1:54 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Some members of the Matta's family are starting a new Matta's at Mesa Riverview. They plan to open it in February, following a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday.

When Matta's Mexican Food prepared to shut its doors for the last time after 53 years, lines of saddened customers stretched out the doors for three days to say farewell.

Luckily for all those fans of one of Mesa's longest-running restaurants, this is one time when goodbye is not forever.

Some members of the Matta's family are starting a new Matta's at Mesa Riverview. They plan to open it in February, following a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday.

Peter Matta and his wife, Gretchen, will own the new establishment, and customers who follow Gretchen's blog - Gotmattas.blogspot.com - have already tried to make reservations.

"It's unbelievable the response that we get," Peter Matta said.

The couple are partners with Peter's brother Chris and Chris' wife, Susan, at Matta's Mexican Grill at Brown and Higley Roads. That is more of a fast-casual format, Peter said, adding he wanted to recreate the Spanish colonial design of the old Matta's that had been on Main Street. He has a garage full of wrought-iron decorations, stained glass, custom-made light fixtures and hand-carved wood furniture from the original restaurant and will reuse them in a more updated setting.

Peter and Gretchen have considered opening their own place for years - and have even been recruited.

"I get calls from developers all over town wanting me to go into their development," Peter Matta said.

This Matta's will go in the Riverview entertainment district, across from Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill. It will seat about 200, half as many as the now-closed location.

Peter began working in 1983 at the restaurant started by his grandmother, Mary Lou Matta, in 1953. She closed Matta's in January 2008, retiring along with her son, David Matta. They wanted to retire, Mary Lou said, but they also saw business decline with a slowing economy and the decline of the area around the business, on Main Street between Stapley and Mesa drives. Matta's was one of the city's first Mexican restaurants and one of the city's oldest eateries.

Mary Lou Matta said she's thrilled so many elements of the original restaurant will live on in this version of Matta's. The send-off that customers gave her show there's still a hunger in Mesa for the family's food, she said.

"I'm sure they're going to do real well because we have a large following of customers," she said. "They like our food. It's authentic. We follow the recipes to a T every time."

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