By Ellen Zoe Golden Photos by Richie Rich and courtesy: Matthew Krasnovsky
If there’s anyone in town who knows how to create a place to hang out and enjoy delicious food, its Mathew “Matty” Krasnovsky. His Bar 1 club was a staple of Tamarindo nightlife for years and his next venture, Matty’s Deli in Langosta, offered popular sandwiches, pickles and salads that drew regulars and visitors alike. Matty’s loves the community, surfing, travel, film, music, art, writing, golf, skating, and meeting new people.
THE Tamarindo News got a word in with the entrepreneur before lunch.
THE Tamarindo News: Tell me a little about growing up?
Matthew Krasnovsky: I was born in Hyannis, Massachusetts in 1971, and have a younger sister, Kathryn. My father was a mason contractor and my mother did lithography, etching, stencil printing, copper smithing, floral design, and garden design. I spent my childhood on the beaches, lakes, and in the woods of Cape Cod. I was pretty active and loved playing outside, riding bikes, playing baseball, hockey, skateboarding, swimming, surfing, snowboarding, skiing, fishing. My neighborhood was full of kids, and was pretty idyllic. I probably didn’t appreciate it for what it was at the time. I was very fortunate.
TTN: Were you in the bar/restaurant business before coming to Costa Rica?
MK: My first “real” job was as a dishwasher in a fine dining restaurant called Aesop’s Table in Wellfleet, Mass. when I was 16. I moved to San Diego in 1991 and worked my way through school in various restaurant jobs including prep cook, busboy, waiter, bartender, valet, host, floor manager, and bar manager. When I finished college with a degree in visual arts and media from University of California San Diego, I was already working full time as a manager at Roy’s La Jolla, and had opportunities that offered better pay than an entry level job in the entertainment industry so I stuck with my first “career”. I moved to L.A. in 2004 as part of the management team for one of Roy Yamaguchi’s new restaurants there.
TTN: How did you end up here?
MK: After a couple of years working and living in L.A. I needed a change because I was disillusioned with the corporate culture that was taking over our restaurant group. One day my college buddy Joe Walsh, who was in back in San Diego visiting from Costa Rica, called me up asking if I wanted to meet for a beer and catch up. Joe had graduated UCSD just before I had and decided to buy a school bus and drive it to Costa Rica and start what is now Witches Rock Surf Camp, which I thought was crazy, but totally awesome. At that time he actually asked me to come with him, but I was committed to my job and was working on a film project of my own, so I declined. I always wondered, “What if I had gone?”. When he came back, he asked if I liked what I was doing in L.A. and I said, “No.” He then suggested that I come work with him, and literally on the spot, over the phone, I decided, “I’m going to Costa Rica.” I gave my notice the next day and was on a flight to Liberia five weeks later.
TNN: Was Bar 1 your first venture?
MK: Yes, Bar1 was my first foray into business ownership. At the time there was nothing else like it and Tamarindo was ready for something a little different. We were trying to create a comfortable vibe and offer a product that was a little more upscale, but still approachable. After four years of running Bar1 I was ready for a change and my business partner needed to move back to the States. I either needed to reinvest in the business or sell it. So we sold.
TNN: Why did you shut down the popular Matty’s Deli?
MK: Matty’s Deli was a great little spot, but it became too much to do in such a small space. I had always looked at alternate ways to create the quality product we were known for there, but do it off-site so we could better utilize the location. That’s when I started looking at the Surf Club as an alternative to the original concept. I look to reopen in some form or another after we get Matty’s Surf Club Bar & Grill running full stop.
TNN: What do you want to accomplish at Matty’s Surf Club?
MK: I have always loved the space and what Mike and Wendy (Clifford) created there as a family and community-based spot. They ran it over the years as kind of and extension of their home and it has a great local feel to it. They are an important part of the community here in terms of fund raising, and providing a venue. Surf Club has hosted Town Hall-type gatherings So my vision for the future is to maintain and cultivate that spirit and bring it to the next level by adding to the equation with quality food, extended hours and days of operation, entertainment and events, and making some upgrades like adding a play zone for kids, and giving the spot a little bit of a facelift. It’s an awesome spot to begin with, spacious and comfortable. There is something for everyone with all of the games, pool, horseshoes, ring toss, cornhole, darts, puzzles, board games, foosball, sporting events on the wide screens and flat screens, bingo nights, entertainment, etc. Now we are offering a full menu, lunch and dinner 11-10 daily, 6 days a week. We are doing a combination of the Matty’s Deli favorites along with updated gastro pub-style bar menu. We have added tons of new seating and tables to give the space added comfort, and people will want to just hang out eat, drink, and have fun with their families and friends.