By The Downtown Arcadia Improvement Association
For this week’s column, the Downtown Arcadia Improvement Association sat down with Long Nguyen, the new owner of Matt Denny’s, for a business profile to find out more about him and what motivated him to purchase one of Arcadia’s favorite restaurants.
What made you interested in owning a restaurant business in Arcadia?
I’m a big sports fan, especially the NFL and NBA. So having a sports bar as part of the restaurant was one of my main motivations. I’ve been in search of a restaurant and sports bar for over 5 years. I guess patience pays off because Matt Denny’s is truly a blessing. When I first saw the place I was like “wow!” this place is nice! The oak bar back is beautiful and the matching oak trim all around makes the atmosphere very calm and relaxing. The food is consistently delicious and the staff is both friendly and well-trained. I love that it has a private room called “The Library” that can accommodate private parties. The huge outdoor patio is great for entertaining a crowd. To me, MD’s is classy and has the right ingredients for continued success.
Tell us a little bit about your background?
I originally began my career in computer networking and system administration. Though the IT industry is very financially rewarding, I felt complacent and needed something more stimulating. The thing that finally motivated me to change careers was when I saw many of my older colleagues go through forced retirement when they were not yet ready. I decided then and there that I didn’t want that to be my fate. I began searching for something that would be challenging, enjoyable, and rewarding. This ultimately led me to quit the IT industry and pursue a career in the restaurant business.
What do you want the Arcadia community to know about you?
I’m originally from Vietnam and when I was younger I always wondered why my family had to leave. I had so many friends there and for me life seemed great. So why did we have to go to a land where no one understood us and everyone looked so different? Though the language was difficult at first, to my surprise, I managed to make friends easily. I found that the people I met here didn’t care that I looked different. All they cared about was how I treated them and who I was as a person. When I was older and wiser, I realized my parents made the ultimate sacrifice. Leaving their home country and family for the U.S. to give their children the opportunity they needed. They knew that new Vietnam government would oppress us and not give us the same privileges. America is a melting pot and the land of opportunity. With dedication and hard work, anyone that wants to make it here will make it happen. I am very grateful for the opportunity this land has given me and my family.
What is your favorite dish at Matt Denny’s?
I’ve been here for over a month and still haven’t tried everything yet. My favorite for a while was the Reuben Sandwich. Yesterday a coworker told me to try the weekend Prime Rib special. Yum! So now Prime Rib is one of my favorites. I honestly think MD’s has so many good items that it’s hard to have just one favorite.
What do you do for fun?
I’m very competitive by nature so playing sports, or anything that allows me to compete, I consider fun. A few years back, I worked part-time at an electric-bike shop and became friends with the owner who loves electric mountain biking. To me mountain e-biking is awesome! Some people say it’s cheating, but I can tell you from experience that you still get a really great workout plus it’s tons of fun. It also taught me a lot about voltage, amps, watts, Li-ion battery, and electric motors. Since then, I’ve gone to many trails of all levels and love it! I would recommend it to everyone.
Any final thoughts?
Matt McSweeny is one of a kind. He’s worked very hard to build Matt Denny’s into the great community favorite that it is. I understand he has left big shoes to fill. I didn’t buy MD’s to change it though, just to reinvest into the restaurant and continue what Matt has already established. I plan on being here long-term and continuing MD’s long-standing commitment to community events and local sponsorship. To the reader of this article, when you come into the restaurant, please say “Hi” if you see me. I would love to chat and get to know you better. Tell me what you love about Matt Denny’s, and also what I can do to make your experience even more enjoyable.
Long Nguyen, new owner of Matt Denny’s, poses in front of his restaurant.
Long Nguyen receives the keys to Matt Denny’s from original owner Matt McSweeny. – Courtesy photos / The Downtown Arcadia Improvement Association