Matties Bar & Grill (for some reason the Matties isn’t possessive even though it’s named after the owner’s niece) is one of the hottest sports bars in Elko. Even though it’s located out of the main residential area, it still does well at its location in the Elko Junction Shopping Center by Raley’s. The bar features such annual events as the Frog Jump and the annual Homemade Bikini Contest. The frog jump earns the frog owners thousands of dollars and the bikini contest is one of the most raucous events in the town, sometimes requiring the presence of hired security guards to keep the drunken revelry to a minimum.
Still, it’s the main restaurant that serves as the focus of action during the week. In general, the food is of a good quality, and – thanks to a new head cook – fresher ingredients are being used, thus adding to the overall quality. They still use Monarch ketchup, though, a measure that is allegedly because the ultra-conservative owner hates Senator John Kerry and Kerry is married to the Heinz dynasty. I say he’s just being cheap, because he could always buy Hunt’s.
Anyway, the burgers are definitely tops, but another highlight of the menu is the chicken wings. They come in buffalo, barbecue and teriyaki. The barbecue and teriyaki are pretty standard, although the teriyaki does add diversification whereas other restaurants stick to the barbecue or Buffalo standard. Even though Matties has buffalo, it’s not the run-of-the-mill Buffalo. It’s more of an atomic orange hue with bits of green onion, and it has more of a definite heat, making it stand out from other more standard buffalo wings. A mix of teriyaki and Buffalo wings makes for a hearty meal, but most rely on them as tasty appetizers. Keep an eye out for their wing specials, though, as you can stock up on wings, but at a fraction of the normal menu price. When on special, they average less than 50 cents a wing, a far cry better than the almost $1 each at Winger’s.
The atmosphere is fun and the menu items, which also include some more home-cooked entrée dishes including fish and chips, are moderately priced despite its close proximity to the interstate and ability to price gouge travelers. The only real problem with Matties is the wait-staff service. During the summer when they rely heavily on teens for help, the service can be downright terrible. Three visits in a row I struck out with having poor service. It took forever for my party to get its orders taken and even longer to get the drinks back. I had to flag down a manager to get drinks refilled. Finally, the wings came with the main dishes.
The food’s good and the wings are great, but I’d recommend trying to hit up Matties during the school year during the day when the teens are still in school, and the restaurant has to rely on more experienced help.