Mata Ne, See You Again!

Delivery First’s Finest: Mata Ne New Asian – A Chat with Co-owner Andrew Spence

The Elmhurst community welcomed a new restaurant this August, and it’s been making its way into their routines and recommendations ever since! Mata Ne, York Road’s newest gem, is a unique Pan Asian restaurant opened by industry vets, Andrew Spence, Jess De Guzman, and Aeron Lancero. 

Andrew Spence, co-owner and sommelier, tells us about the roses and thorns of opening a restaurant and shares some of his secrets about the community! Clue: the secret is green and sweet. Without further ado, let’s hear from Andrew!

Co-owner & sommelier, Andrew Spence

Can you describe the concept of your restaurant for those who haven’t dined with you yet?

A: “Mata Ne is Pan Asian, with both hot and cold cuisine from several Asian countries. The restaurant is anchored by chef De Guzman’s sushi bar and wine selected to pair perfectly with our dishes.”

What was your mission in opening your own restaurant? 

A: “We identified Elmhurst as a location with a wonderful threshold for entry and also noticed it was saturated with Italian restaurants. We knew the town was craving something else and our mission was to offer a unique experience to this community.

Another mission of ours is to keep everything we do as local as possible. I worked as a waiter in Elmhurst for a year before I opened Mata Ne and it gave me so much insight into the community. For example, guests would always ask me if we had key lime pie. So of course, it’s featured on our dessert menu. We drive to a local city spot called Bang Bang Pie once a week to pick up fresh pies and now sell six pies a week!”

Co-owner & chef, Jess De Guzman

How do you feel the community of Elmhurst relates to local restaurants? 

A: “The community is all about small business, there’s a palpable drive when a new business opens in Elmhurst. My neighbor just opened a sports memorabilia shop and everyday the sidewalk is littered with children’s bicycles. That same enthusiasm happened here as well. 

Another thing we were really excited about was the way the community of Elmhurst embraces to-go. With initiatives like TakeOut 25, it’s no joke! We made sure we had our ducks in a row to meet expectations for a quality to-go experience.”

What is the biggest hurdle you’ve experienced while opening a small business? 

A: “We anticipated Covid ending and thought it was going to be very much like The Roaring Twenties and there would be a restaurant boom. Covid continuing was an obstacle we couldn’t predict. The one thing we were sure of was that Elmhurst was the right place to open a business because of how they supported the restaurants through Covid. We knew that if Covid did rear its ugly head again, there’s no other town we want to be in.”

How did you come up with the name for your company?

A: “The business before us was called “Market Table” and we purchased about 600 glasses with an “M” etched into them. So, the name for the restaurant was simple: Mata Ne. Mata Ne, pronounced “𝒎𝒂𝒉-𝒕𝒂𝒉-𝒏𝒆𝒉”, means “𝒔𝒆𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒂𝒈𝒂𝒊𝒏” in Japanese.”

What am I ordering when I come into your restaurant?

A: Try our Summer Veggie Roll and the Spicy Tuna Hand Roll with a glass of our 2018 Le Dur Noir Pinot Noir, and of course, key lime pie!”

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