It wasn't time for a meal when we drove into Butte last fall. But we'd read about this curious place. As a kid, Evel Knievel ate at Matt's frequently, when he lived nearby. If it was good enough for him, it was worth a visit!
The only thing better than a roadside diner is a roadside house with dining options. This diner was just a home on the highway, before Matt Korn began serving food in 1930. Customers used to drive up along the tall fat bumper curb and order through the windows. I hear they still will bring food out to your car, but we wanted to sit at the old counter! We said hello the the man in the white apron leaning against the stucco and headed on inside.
My eyes were drawn behind the counter where I spotted shiny milkshake and malt equipment, plus an old cash register. All that chrome seemed to be surrounded by words. Coca-Cola, Sandwiches, Gift Certificates, Yes! We're Open, Sugar Cones, and SORRY... with a list of this and that and a THX at the end.
Don and I sat down on two of the brown, swivel stools at the 1930's era, U-shaped counter. We pulled out a menu, showing a tray full of icy cold treats. A very smiley server wearing a snappy little cap, peered over the sweet assortment.
There were no caps worn here, but the two servers who were in the midst of a shift change, did seem to have matching hairdos... which weren't from the 1930's, but not exactly 2015 either.
Coke or Ice Cream?
It wasn't quite 5 pm and Don and I hadn't even checked into our hotel yet. We thought about just having a Coke, especially if it meant choosing our own frosty bottles from the big red case and popping off the lids... instead of unscrewing!
But the menu was calling me. What I really wanted was the Peanut Burger, served with a mayo sauce made with crushed peanuts. I love getting the local, quirky favorite and maybe I should have. But we were holding off for dinner later. Instead, I had my peanuts served on top of a chocolate sundae, which was probably just as filling as a burger. It was mighty good, though.
Distracted by a Photo
Don shared a few bites, but he spent most of our visit, chatting with Shawn, a young man sitting at the end of the counter. Shawn noticed Don pointing at a framed photo that was mounted on the knotty pine wall.
Don was pretty sure that was a 1957 Chevy Nomad Station Wagon, just like the one his family owned when he was a kid. Shawn heard that bit of news and lit up. "You had one of those!".
Shawn had a few cars stories himself, since his dad and grandfather were race car drivers. He showed us a photo of the trashed Mustang he and his dad found in an old barn.
He laughed about his first ride in a souped up '57 Chevy, shortly after he was born. His mom had been furious that his dad arrived and drove them home from the hospital in the noisy car that made everyone stare at stoplights.
Chatting with Brandi
Brandi continued to busy herself behind the counter. She chatted with me a bit about her favorite customers... the families that seemed to "grow up" on the diner's food.
She also teased Shawn a few times, especially when he told us he'd just discovered Matt's Place a few weeks earlier, when he started college. "And he's pretty much been here, every day since then!" Brandi laughed. "Don't forget your coat!" She reminded him like a mother when he got up to head out.
Off to Butte
I was sorry we couldn't have experienced a meal or a bigger crowd. But mostly I'm just glad we made the stop. This is one of those places that might not be there "next time". Matt sold his biz to the Louis & Mae Lawrence in the 1940's. I believe Mae passed away a couple years ago at age 100. As far as I know their daughter is still running things. You never know.
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.