Matt's in the Market has a brand new chef. This is notable in part because the restaurant tucked upstairs in Pike Place Market's Corner Market Building is almost as much an institution as the market it inhabits. But also because this new chef ends (or perhaps extends?) an era of confusion: Matt's in the Market hasn't been inhabited by an actual Matt since founder Matt Janke sold the business a decade ago.
Chef Matt Fortner reported for duty last week. Dining nerds first learned his name years ago when he was chef at How to Cook a Wolf; Fortner went on to work for Tom Douglas in a variety of roles, most recently chef at Lola.
Matt's in the Market owner Dan Bugge took over the restaurant from Janke in 2008 and retained the culinary luster in this most charming space via a series of talented chefs. When the most recent, Jason McClure, decided to pursue his own place north of the city, Bugge deemed Fortner the best guy for the job; the summer menu should bear the new chef's imprint.
Obviously Fortner's name didn't get him the gig, but Bugge does field a lot of questions about the restaurant's name (Who's Matt? Are you Matt? Matt's the chef, right?). "I told him—man, when I go, your name's already on the door," Bugge jokes about his new chef. Hopefully neither guy is going anywhere for a long time.