The owner of Se-Port Deli in East Setauket said that Monday he sold hundreds of the Matz hero, named after Mets pitcher and Stony Brook native Steven Matz. But one of the regular customers came in and went the other way, ordering a different hero. And that was Steven Matz.
Owner Wisam Dakwar was behind the counter making a Matz Monday afternoon when he heard a commotion and turned to look at the line of customers. Matz, who enjoyed a highly successful major-league debut with the Mets on Sunday, and teammate Jacob deGrom had walked in.
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"We had an off day today so I called Jacob to see what he was doing," Matz told Newsday. "We came out to Long Island, figured I'd show him the town a little bit."
What kind of tour guide would Matz be if he didn't visit the deli that named a hero after him?
So less than 24 hours after making his debut, in which he allowed two runs in 72/3 innings and went 3-for-3 with four RBIs in a 7-2 win over Cincinnati, Matz showed up for lunch.
"It's been crazy," Matz said of the past 24 hours, "but it's been a lot of fun."
And good for business. The Matz hero -- chicken cutlet, melted jack and cheddar cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, topped with pepper house dressing on a toasted garlic hero -- was the top seller at the deli on Monday. But Matz went with the Boone, which has chicken cutlet, melted American cheese, bacon and Russian dressing on a roll.
"That's the most standard one, so that's what I went with," said Matz, who also ordered his usual cup of Se-Port iced tea. "But it's cool to have my own hero. It's been up there for a while."
Dakwar said Matz has been a customer since he was a student at Ward Melville High School. He named the hero after Matz when he was signed by the Mets in 2009.
"I had a feeling that one day he was going to be famous," said Dakwar, the owner of Se-Port Deli for 18 years. "He made history Sunday. That's a big thing for everybody. That hero will be up there forever."
"The Matz" had been a steady seller -- "maybe five, six, seven'' per day, Dakwar said -- but it had a spike Monday. Proud Long Islanders wanted to order the same sandwich that Matz often ordered in high school.
Then Matz himself walked in. After he and deGrom placed their orders, they waited by the counter. Another customer arrived and asked the two if they were waiting on line. Both said no and the customer, oblivious to the fact that his fellow lunch-goer was on the back cover of every New York newspaper Monday, took his spot at the end of the line.
Matz soon was called up to the register, but the bill was on the house. A perk of being a professional baseball player, a local hero and, well, an actual hero.
"It's cool to be back home," Matz said. "I don't get to spend much time here in summer. So it's cool to be back. Everybody is really excited."
As was the staff at Se-Port, who certainly were happy to have him . . . in the store and on the menu.
"It was a beautiful, beautiful day," Dakwar said. We've sold a lot of "Matz" today. I've just been hearing it all day -- Matz, Matz, Matz."
Except when Matz ordered.
With Nick Klopsis