WILLIAMSBURG — In late February 2020 Matt Sileno was poised to take his Matchsticks BBQ Co. to the next level.
After spending years on the Historic Triangle food truck circuit, smoking and selling tons of award winning pulled pork, fall off the bone ribs and to-die-for beef brisket, he had signed a lease on a brick-and-mortar restaurant space in the Midtown Row section of Williamsburg.
Sileno and his crew took to overhauling what had previously been a retail space. Then, two weeks after getting the keys, COVID-19 brought the world to a grinding halt.
“We had demoed out the space and broken ground on the concrete,” Sileno remembers. “Then we were on hold for three months. Plus when you’re building something from scratch it definitely takes time and I underestimated the time it would take. But you live and you learn and it was my first rodeo. So I learned a ton.”
Fast forward almost two years and Sileno and his staff are finally looking forward to some unannounced soft openings.
“We won’t announce it or put any signage up,” Sileno said. “It’ll just be for some people to come by and see the spot and enjoy food and drinks, but it’ll be more for staff training.”
After the unannounced soft and grand openings, announcements forthcoming, Sileno has big plans for his restaurant.
To go along with the on-site smoked barbecue fair, Matchsticks will offer a full bar, complete with beer taps earmarked for local breweries.
“All of our produce, all of our meats will be from Virginia,” Matt said. “Everything is coming from the state of Virginia. Local beers on tap and in bottle, Virginia wines and spirits. We are doing out best to keep it in the same family, same community.”
Other ways Sileno is looking to expand the Matchsticks name is through monthly programs such as monthly cooking classes for kid and adults, gourmet dinners and whiskey and cigar clubs.
“One Wednesday a month we are going to do ‘Date Night Dinners’, five to seven course elegant dishes,” he said. “Paired with cocktails and wine. The attention to detail on those dinners will be the same detail we put into our barbecue, but way more upscale in terms of plating.”
More than anything Sileno is looking forward to continuing his contribution to the Williamsburg culinary scene and to the community at large.
“We are all about bringing the community together,” Sileno said of his goal for the restaurant. “We want to provide a more fun communal type experiences so that we can make this town even better than it already is.”