Matchbox American Kitchen + Spirit

Matchbox. (Photo by Kathy Tran)

When the proprietors of Matchbox say the Washington D.C.-based restaurant chain is “family-owned,” they’re mostly telling the truth. Mark Neal and Ty Neal are indeed brothers. But the third co-founder, Drew Kim, is just a friend. He’d probably object to the word “just.”

“[Drew] is our half-brother from another mother,” Mark jokes.

The men obviously are close, which may be because they lived together in 2003.

“We rented a small house in Maryland and my wife cooked and cleaned for us while we were getting [the first Matchbox] built,” Ty explains. “She deserves the woman of year award for that.”

There are now eight Matchbox locations. The newest sits in Preston Hollow Village, right across the street from Trader Joe’s. Wood-fired pizza is definitely the signature menu item but the tuna tartare tacos and miniature angus burgers are also popular with diners. Try the lemon custard cake for dessert or pop in during happy hour for a signature cocktail, like the Patio Pounder, a fusion of watermelon vodka and lemonade. You probably won’t get to meet Mark, Ty or Drew, because they returned to Washington D.C. shortly after our interview. But the general manager, Shannon Farr, is holding down the fort with Texas hospitality.


7859 Walnut Hill, Suite 140


Ambiance: Somehow both industrial and cozy

Price Range: $10-$23 for food


Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m.

Friday, 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m.

Saturday, 10 a.m.-11:30 p.m.

Sunday, 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m.

Did you know:

Mark, Ty and Drew worked with a sommelier to create a signature red wine for Matchbox? You can buy a bottle for $30.