They Love DC: The Guys of Matchbox & Ted’s Bulletin


You love Matchbox’s pizza, you go there religiously for brunch (hello sticky buns!) and you’re a big fan of the mini burgers. But what if I told you Matchbox isn’t the only place around town these days? The four owners behind Matchbox have teamed up to open Barrack Row’s newest hot spot, Ted’s BULLETIN. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, BULLETIN is a classic joint with a bit of style—complete with savory homemade food and a friendly, neighborhood atmosphere to provide relief from today’s time-congested lifestyle. BULLETIN offers homecookin’ with clever names, like Walk of Shame Breakfast Burrito, Nana’s Beer Biscuits and Gravy, the Green Green Salad of Home with Green Goddess Dressing, or home-style Meatloaf with Mingo County Ketchup Glaze with a “Big As Ya Head” Twice Baked Potato or Mac and Four Cheese with Andouille on the side.

I was able to chat with partners Perry Smith, Drew Kim, and Mark and Ty Neal, who took on the challenge of answering the They Love DC interview jointly.

Katie: How long have you lived in the DC area?
Them: All four partners moved to DC in the summer of 2002. Partner Perry Smith grew up in the area and attended B-CC High School.

What is the best thing about DC, in your opinion?
First, we all agree–the people–so many different people come to DC year in and year out and it’s great to see so many new faces. The energy is awesome, and you don’t see a lot of folks sitting still, they are always doing things!

What would you change about DC if you could?
Find some money to improve snow removal! We always get hit hard every few years but then get lulled by a couple of mild winters and forget how bad it can be!

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’

Why did you open your restaurants, and what do you see for the Matchbox brand and others in the future?
We saw a great opportunity in Washington and especially in the Chinatown neighborhood back when we first opened. Now we have Matchbox Capitol Hill as well as our new concept Ted’s BULLETIN, also on Capitol Hill. We have plans to open another Matchbox in Rockville and hope to get over to Northern Virginia soon. We have had many offers to expand our brand beyond DC, but we prefer to move a bit slower and maintain our focus on quality and great service. This is a great market in which to do business!

Name your ideal day of DC meals – what would you eat for breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner and drinks?
With four partners weighing in, that’s a lot of food! We would run the gamut from fresh fruit, bagels, half smokes, Potbellies, a Matchbox tuna salad, wine and cheese as a snack, to dinner at Sei, Cava or Central. Proof is also doing a great job with their cocktail menu. Generally we stick with what we like at the restaurant–familiar foods done with extra care!

What do you think DC diners want out of their restaurant experience in the different locations you have restaurants in?
In Chinatown, we have found that diners might have another agenda such as a game or a play to see. They tend to spend a bit less time dining. In Capitol Hill, diners love to make a night of it at Matchbox with wine service, specials, soups and dessert. We see a lot of families at both locations, but our Capitol Hill families are definitely on the 5-7:30 clock!

What makes a restaurant work in say, Eastern Market where it wouldn’t in other places?
Honestly, our feeling is that the area was under served for so long, residents had just become a bit tired and were craving other options. Eastern Market itself is a great draw for folks wanting to check out the neighborhood, along with the Navy Yard and ball field. It’s a great dynamic of residents and tourists, and they all need fun places to eat!

Matchbox is playful, and the design is sleek. What inspired you to build out that concept?
It’s an extension of all four partners. We like to sit in a space and have “pickle barrel” design discussions based on the shape and history of a building. We love old buildings where we can leave a great old shell and add some new features such as metals and glass. In Capitol Hill, we used the original timber beams and opened up some skylights that had been covered for 40 years! Build outs are fun for all of us, and the best idea wins.

Where do you think the next big 14th street or H street going to be? Where in the city are you looking to invest and why?
We would say Capitol Hill on this one, and we see growth continuing to knit with what’s going on down at the ball field. Very exciting!

Where do you spend your days off in the city?
What days off?…Oh, you might find us down at Hain’s Point for golf, at a Caps or Wizards game, The Shakespeare  Theatre, and for those of us with kids–at the Zoo!

Ted’s BULLETIN is open Sunday-Thursday from 7:00am – 10:30pm, Friday & Saturday from 7:00am – 11:30am and breakfast is available all day. For more information on BULLETIN please visit their website, follow the team on Twitter @TedsBulletin.

Katie moved to DC in 2007, and has since embarked upon a love affair with the city. She’s an education reform advocate and communications professional during the day; at night and on the weekends, she’s an owner here at We Love DC. Katie has high goals to eat herself through the entire city, with only her running shoes to save her from herself. For up-to-the-minute news and reviews (among other musings), follow her on Twitter!

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