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Matt & Tony’s Wood Fired Kitchen – Spiciest Dish in Columbus Series

Warning, rant about shoestring fries hidden within.

Sitting in the shell of former Columbus Brewing Company restaurant, Matt & Tony’s Wood Fired Kitchen fills a restaurant void that folks in the Brewery District noticed when the aforementioned CBC (no relation to the restaurant) had to close after 21 years. When you talk to folks around Columbus, there’s a lot of love for Matt & Tony’s Wood Fired Kitchen even though they’ve only been around a short time.

The Spicy Habanero Chicken Sandwich was the primary reason for stopping by, but we snagged a few other items as well.

matt and tonys cheese steak egg rolls

That meat tho…

First along were the Cheese Steak Egg Rolls, which had big slices of beef inside along with the standard cheesesteak fixings. I’m not sure who started the trend of Mac and Cheese, cheesesteaks, or other interesting items to go into egg rolls, but we applaud you madam or sir.

wings from matt and tonys by fartley farms


We also snagged some of the Hot Wings, Fresh wings, chili powder rub, homemade hot sauce, side of bleu cheese dressing. The sauce is a little on the saltier side of what we prefer, but the chili powder and typical hot wing style sauce make for a nice little kick on top of an awesome wing. Speaking of spicy things…

Real quick, before we get into the sandwich, I need to voice my opinion about something SUPER important. Shoestring fries. Why take a good potato and make it tough to eat? We love potatoes just about any way you slice them…until it gets down to this size. It’s long been a complaint of mine especially with Steak and Shake, but same here. If memory serves correct, Matt & Tony’s previously had the larger, almost steak fry sized, fries, but for our order at least it was shoestring. Sad! If you’re a fan of shoestring fries, let us know. We’d be interested in chatting. We just want to understand the appeal. Gahhhhh.

spicy habanero chicken sandwich by fartley farms

The Spicy Habanero Chicken Sandwich is one of those items that had been on our list for quite some time. The chicken sandwiches tend to be fairly low in terms of spiciness, with Fried Chicka Bang and Hot Chicken Takeover taking the top two chicken spots, but never breaking into the Top 15. Looking at the initial description, there was some hope that this could be a contender based on the habanero sauce slather on the sandwich.

Fried chicken breast topped with green habanero sauce, cheddar, lettuce & tomato on a toasted buttered bun. First things first, gotta remove that tomato. It’s a neutralizer when it comes to heat (plus the texture of tomato slices are nasty, come at me bro), but more so a personal preference.

Looking at the sandwich, you can see the green habanero sauce pretty easily. See all of the green? That’s the green habanero sauce. Habanero sauces tend to be an orange or reddish tint, but from our sometimes-correct taste skills, this seems to get its green hue from an herb of some sort, potentially cilantro. I scraped a few shoestring fries through the sauce to get a general assessment of what we were dealing with. Initial heat is minimal, and then the habanero peeks its head out like a super nervous prairie dog. A slight tongue tingle, but the little heat fades after another couple of fries.

I wondered if the heat would intensify with the sauce being both above and below the sandwich (that’s right, both buns son) but after a few bites, the spiciness remained the same. Low initial heat and then a slight linger. I found myself wanting more of that typical habanero heat I’d come to expect from sauces like Choripan Argentine Grill or the Bru Burger Bar “Melt Your Face” Habanero-based burger.

The habanero rises and falls quickly, but not quite as quick as Michigan flailing out of the Top 25 rankings. Finishing the sandwich up, we thought of the other sandwiches on our list. The quick hit of heat and the low linger puts Matt & Tony’s Spicy Habanero Chicken Sandwich at #72, right after Ray Ray’s Hot Link and Habanero BBQ Sauce and above Beer Barrel Pizza and Grill Nuclear Hot Sauce Wings.

You can find Matt & Tony’s Wood Fired Kitchen at 525 Short St, Columbus, OH 43215.

Look below for more in our spiciest dish in Columbus series and hit us up if you have any suggestions that are not already on our list!

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