Did Toby Keith Really Visit The East Eden Tavern?
You may have heard a story about how Toby Keith stopped at a small restaurant in East Eden after a show. Was it a rumor or did it really happen?
You hear stories about how things happen all the time. But how much of it is true, and how much is just rumors?
The story you heard about Toby coming to play at the East Eden Tavern is true
The story actually starts in Key West, Florida
It all starts with Brian Mathews, the owner of the East Eden Tavern. Brian used to work as a bouncer at a place called "Irish Kevins" in Key West. After his shift was over, he'd walk over to another place called "Damn Good Food" to get a late-night/early-morning breakfast. That's where he met Toby for the first time.
Toby was sitting there eating and Brian recognized him. After sitting and talking with him for a bit, they realized they had a lot in common. Among other things, both had played semi-professional football and loved country music. It was a friendship that started on a whim but continued years later.
Toby visits the East Eden Tavern
Because of their friendship from years before, Brian would often get to hang out with Toby when he came through the Buffalo area. Toby would tell him, if I'm ever in your area, be sure to reach out.
After one particular show at Darien Lake, Toby had mentioned that he could go for some food and as it had turned out, Brian had recently re-opened the East EdenTavern, a barbeque restaurant about 55 minutes away from the venue where they were playing.
Toby hopped in the truck with Brian and the tour bus followed.
When they got to the restaurant Toby got to sit down and eat. But the magic happened after he was done. After playing a full show at Darien Lake, Toby jumped up and borrowed a guitar and a mic from the band that was there and he started playing again for the people in the restaurant.
Obviously, news travels fast in a small town. As soon as people saw tour buses sitting out in front of the Tavern, they stopped in.
The rest is history
On a call with Brian he says that people were calling for weeks after he stopped in asking if that was the restaurant where Toby ate. They'd stop in wanting to know every detail from how long he was there to where exactly he sat to eat his dinner.
People still talk about it today. Brian admitted that it wasn't something Toby had to do but he wanted to do it to help his friend.
"That's the kinda guy he was. Always willing to help someone out. My first year in business and he came to put us on the map." - Brian Mathews
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