7042 E. Indian School Road
Chef Eddie Matney, owner and chef at Eddie’s House in Old Town Scottsdale, wants nothing more than for his guests to feel at home in his restaurant.
“If I knew someone well and invited them to my home, what would I cook for them?” asked Eddie. “I think about that with my menu and each time I’m behind the [cooking] line.”
Meet Matney once and you’ll immediately feel at ease. Meet him twice and he’ll remember your children, what you do for a living and what you like to eat. His presence is larger than life, yet comforting like an old high school pal.
Watch guests arrive to the restaurant and you’ll realize you aren’t the only one he knows well. Acquaintances quickly become his friends and the best part about it is he is incredibly sincere, both with his restaurant guests and with his love for the food he puts on the table.
“The fun thing about what I do is I still love to cook,” said Matney. “I love to cook at the restaurant, I love to cook for friends and I really love cooking for my wife.”
Matney grew up in North Adams, Massachusetts where cooking was always a huge part of his life. In his Lebanese home, cooking and gathering with family and friends was simply a way of life.
“I was cooking when I was 8 years old; we just all pitched in.”
Although he never set out to be a chef, Matney started working as a dishwasher at The 1896 House in Williamstown, Massachusetts at 15. The summers were busy but as the fall and winter seasons made for slower weeknights, the kitchen staff allowed their young apprentice to help prep. Little did he know, within a year he’d be running the broiler station.
“After awhile, I was prepping during the day for weekend wedding events and moving up to the broiler for nighttime shifts,” said Matney. “It was definitely an education and I just sort of fell into it.”
From there, Matney moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts to work in his uncle’s gourmet deli. Mary Tyler Moore and Christopher Walken were frequent guests.
Phoenix called Matney’s name in 1987, when he was asked to work with Big 4 restaurants and become the executive chef for Steamer’s Genuine Seafood at the Biltmore Fashion Park.
Matney worked for Steamer’s for two years, before opening his own restaurants Kous Kooz, Eddie’s Grill, Eddie’s Art Museum Café, Eddie’s Patio Café (at the Desert Botanical Garden), Eddie Matney’s and then in 2008, Eddie’s House, where he’s been running the kitchen and making friends with guests for seven years.
The menu at Eddie’s House is New American, with bold flavors that always push the envelope.
“I think New American is really the way Americans eat these days,” said Matney. “We are a melting pot and our food shows that, with Mediterranean overtones, sometimes hints of Asian influence – it really just ties everything in.”
And now, this summer the chef started what seems like the most fitting feature of his restaurant, Chef Eddie, Unplugged!
Reservations can be made for a night at the Chef’s Table, where guests sit at a comfortable bar area, which looks straight into the kitchen. Chef Matney takes position directly in front of his guests, poised with a cutting board and his imagination.
“I ask the guests if they have any aversions, allergies, restrictions and then I go into the walk-in [refrigerator] and start looking around. I stay out of the walk-in all day when I know I have a reservation for Unplugged because I want to be in the moment, I want to figure things out as I go with no preplans.”
Unplugged music performances were the inspiration behind the chef’s latest idea, giving him a connection with his guests while opening him up to creativity and allowing him to stay in the moment.
“It’s as if we are in my house and I’m just cooking for you, what you want to eat and what I want to make for you.”
Chef Eddie Unplugged
Two weeks ago my husband and I had a babysitter for the first time in months. Poised for a night out, we were excited to try a new experience, Chef Eddie Unplugged. With my love for food and chitchat, I felt it was a great way to get to know the man behind everything I was about to eat.
My husband wasn’t as intrigued by the activity. The first night alone in months was not meant to be with an animated chef talking to us throughout our meal.
Let’s just say, it worked out for all. It was one of the most enjoyable evenings we’ve experienced in years.
We sat down and were greeted by Chef Matney, who asked us our food preferences. Once we assured him that we eat any and everything put before us, we watched as the wheels began turning in his head.
He walked around; gathered items, headed to the fridge, asked his cooks to pitch in on side elements of the plate. He returned to his cutting board with knife in hand and a beautiful filet, which he then diced. I was stunned. Who chops up such a gorgeous piece of plump red meat?
He is the expert for a reason.
Before long, we had beef tartar atop a crisp cucumber slice, with a dash of chili oil. Plated in threes, each serving was presented as if the chef had been designing such an appetizer for years.
What followed was a Smoked Pork Shank with Fried Green Tomatoes and Bacon Aioli, Atlantic Cod with Mashed Cauliflower and Shrimp Essence, Mini-Lobster Rolls with Sumac Fries; and Warm Pita topped with Humus, Diced Lamb Chops and Cucumber.
Each course came with discussion in between; when we talked about our love of Lebanese cuisine, the pita was soon placed in front of us. Our conversations with the chef – whether about food or not – was obviously inspiring the man behind the knife.
We felt his excitement. It showed in his artful presentations on the plate. By the imaginitive man in front of us. And by the fresh taste of the food before us. Chef Matney carefully crafted dishes just for us, resulting in a true night to remember.