Busboys & Poets is getting all the hype, so it’s due time to give a bit of love to Matchbox, which will be one of the very first restaurants to open in the Merriweather District this summer. Matchbox has been dishing out perfectly-charred wood-fired pizzas in DC and its surrounding burbs for over fifteen years.
In Columbia, Matchbox will fill a 5,000-square-foot space with 150 seats in the southeast corner of the Juniper building - it will be the closest restaurant to Busboys and Poets and right on Color Burst Park. The press release from October says the restaurant will have “multiple operable glass doors creating indoor/outdoor seating and a lively sidewalk scene”.
The decor of Matchbox typically includes reclaimed wood, exposed brick, and industrial metal giving it a modern yet rustic feel. Matchbox is known for its wood-fired pizza (my favorite of which is the Fire & Smoke, pictured), appetizers including it’s famous mini burgers, also pictured below), which are topped with a pile of onion straws and come 3, 6, or 9 to an order, as well as many salads, sandwiches, and entrees. Matchbox has so much more than
pizza as shown in the full menus below.
Additionally, Matchbox recently started offering an unlimited small plate brunch, called Brunchbox, where you choose from over 25 different small plates, including sweets like blueberry muffin french toast and cast-iron cinnamon rolls, savory items including shrimp & grits, avocado toast, and breakfast nachos, and plenty of pizza and mini-burger options. Pricing for the bottomless brunch at the Rockville location is currently $31.50 per adult, $12.95 for children 7 to 12, and free for those 6 and under. Fortunately, the high cost of the food is slightly offset by the bargain Bloody Marys, mimosas, and peach bellinis, which cost a mere $3 each.
The first Matchbox opened in Gallery Place / Chinatown DC in 2003, and has since expanded into two other locations in DC (14th St and Eastern Market), three Maryland locations (Bethesda, Silver Spring, & Rockville), 5 in Virginia (Merrifield, Loudon, Charlottesville, Pentagon City, and Potomac Mills) as well as a location in Florida and one in Texas. Matchbox hit a bit of a rough patch starting in 2015, when plans for a large national expansion faltered, resulting in-fighting between the executives and investors that lead to a lawsuit and ultimately a new arrangement with Thompson Hospitality to take over management of the company with a smaller more controlled expansion plan. While I have very fond memories of the delicious food and service during its early days in DC, it has been years since I have been into one of their restaurants, so I hope the quality is as good as I remember when it opens in the Merriweather District.