Matt Martinez, Jr., the scion of the family that founded Austin’s El Rancho in the 1950s and who himself went on to establish Matt’s Rancho Martinez in Dallas, in 1987, has entered hospice care, in Irving. He has brain cancer and has taken a turn for the worse. The information comes from an email sent out by Mary Wilson of the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association on Tuesday afternoon, advising members of the situation. I’ll post more details as I find them out, and undoubtedly news stories will be forthcoming in the daily newspapers. But like so many who are just hearing of Matt’s illness for the first time, the news saddens me immensely. For someone whose name is iconic in Texas, Matt Junior was a genuinely modest ambassador of goodwill and good food. I remember interviewing him one time for a story I was writing on Tex-Mex, about ten years ago. We ended up standing in the parking lot at the Austin restaurant, which his family owns, chatting about old times and memories. We’d never met, but he felt like an old friend. He couldn’t have been less impressed with his considerable reputation, or funnier, or more gracious. I’ll post more later. Please keep the Martinez family in your thoughts and prayers.
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