The note on the door of Matt's Tex Mex in Roanoke, dated Dec. 9, says the owner, Matt Martinez III (no relation to the author), has until today, Dec. 12, to vacate the premises, as the lease agreement has been terminated due to nonpayment.
Apparently they didn't need that long to pack everything and get the hell out. Sunday lunch-goers looking for a warm bowl of tortilla soup or some flautas were greeted with locked doors and an interior picked clean of tables, chairs, everything, like no one had ever rented at 113 N. Oak in the town that the Texas House of Representatives dubbed "The Unique Dining Capital of Texas" in 2009. Whatever that means.
A note to Martinez from the Addison law firm Singer & Levick taped to several doors reads, in part:
You have multiple defaults under the Lease Agreement, including, but not limited to, failing to pay rent due in full on December 1, 2016, and certain Tenant Charges, including Taxes that were past due as of May 11, 2016. Accordingly, the Lease Agreement between Landlord and Tenant concerning the Property is hereby terminated.
It went on:
Your indebtedness that has not been paid to date as agreed is Seventy Thousand Eight Hundred Seventy-Two and 85/100 Dollars ($70,872.85), plus an additional sum of Nine Hundred and No/100 Dollars ($900.00) for reasonable attorney' fees, which have been incurred to date in the collection of this matter, remains unpaid and which amount continues to increase.
Matt's Tex Mex is notable not for its passable enchiladas and brisket tacos, but because of the Martinez name that received restaurant acclaim in the Austin area for the Zagat-rated Matt's El Rancho, which has been continuously running on South Lamar since 1952. Matt Sr. opened the original Matt's in Austin, penned three books on Mexican food and sold his spices and salsas in specialty stores before the brand made its way to the Dallas dining scene in 1985.
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The Martinez family history in Tex Mex got its start in 1925, when Matt Sr.'s father Delfino sold tamales and pralines from a pushcart on the steps of the State Capitol building.
Matt's was never as well received in Dallas as it was in Austin, and somewhere along the way, Matt III took over the family business. Matt's Rancho Martinez locations are still open in Lakewood and Garland.
Which brings one interesting tidbit to mind about the Martinez Mexican food empire: They obviously like to give each location a certain degree of separation from the rest of the family business. When Matt's came to Dallas, it wasn't under the Matt's El Rancho name, even though it was a big hit. They had a slightly different naming convention.
The two locations still up and running in the Dallas area go by Matt's Rancho Martinez. Though the now-closed Roanoke location is lumped in with those two locations on the Matt's Tex Mex website, it carried slightly different branding, going by Matt's Tex Mex on the building.