When a person wants to eat out, there are many different kinds of restaurants from which to choose. There are fast food, barbecue joints, seafood, fine dining, various ethnic and numerous other types available. O’Charley’s is an excellent choice for those who want good, American-style food served in nice surroundings for a moderate price. This chain is a favorite for people of all ages. There are facts about the company that will be of interest to those who eat there regularly and to those who might be interested in going there to check it out.
The O’Charley’s Restaurants Story
The story began in 1969 when Charlie Watkins opened his first restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee, across the street from Vanderbilt University. He operated that first O’Charley’s until 1984, when David K. Wachtel bought it from him. The next two decades were a time of rapid expansion. By 1987, the twelfth O’Charley’s had opened in Lexington, Kentucky. In 2003, the number of locations totaled almost 200. Today, there are more than 230 restaurants located in nineteen states. They are all in the Midwest and eastern part of the United States, but there are none in New England.
The O’Charley’s chain has received many accolades from the business community through the years. Among them is having been named by Forbes Magazine to its “200 Best Small Companies in America” list for 3 years in a row. Since 2007, the company has used Performance Food Group to distribute products to all of its locations.
What It Is Like to Visit an O’Charley’s Restaurant
When a customer arrives at one of the O’Charley’s restaurants, there are several things he will notice. First, there is always convenient parking and a well-landscaped exterior to greet you. Second, there is always a friendly greeting by the hostess when people come in the front door. Third, the dining area has comfortable booths and furnishings and has been divided into smaller areas. You don’t get that feeling of eating in an oversized, crowded hall at an O’Charley’s. The general ambiance could be described as laid-back casual.
There is only one menu for both lunch and dinner at O’Charley’s, but there is a section that lists lunch specials. They are only available from Monday through Friday until 3:00 PM each day. The offerings are called Lunch Combos and offer various combinations of soups, sandwiches, loaded baked potatoes and salads. The portions are lunch-sized and less expensive than most of the other meals.
The menu for dishes other than for lunch is large and varied. There are several different sections from which to make selections. They include, but are not limited to: Appetizers, Soup of the Day, Seafood, Steaks and Combos, Chicken and Ribs, Fresh Burgers, Side Items, Desserts and Beverages. There are many choices and variations within these categories, so there should be a meal that will appeal to everyone. The many choices also make it possible to dine there frequently without getting tired of eating the same selections over and over.
There is another feature to their menu that sets O’Charley’s apart from almost every other restaurant. They have an additional menu of specials that is called “Ultimate Choices.” This menu, they say, offers “12 Tasty Meals at 3 Great Prices.”
- $7.99 choices include: Hand Battered Fish Sandwich, Grilled Baja Chicken, Chick Tenders & Naked Twisted Chips, 12-Spice Chicken Panini and Hand Battered Fish n’ Chips.
- $8.99 menu choices include: Bayou Shrimp Pasta, Shredded Beef Minis & Naked Twisted Chips, Teriyaki Tilapia and Baked Italian Chicken & Penne.
- $9.99 will purchase one of the following three choices: Cowboy Sirloin, California Shrimp Salad and Grilled Salmon & Rice Pilaf.
All of these items are very good. The Cowboy Sirloin is an especially tasty choice.
O’Charley’s Is Famous for Its Rolls
The meals at this restaurant are all well-prepared and taste good, but it is famous for its rolls. After people place their orders, the waitperson brings a basket of fresh-out-of-the-oven, hot yeast rolls. They are too soft to slice and have a great taste. They also are a wonderful way to dull your hunger just a little while waiting for your entrée to be prepared. The food is good at O’Charley’s.
Sunday is a special day at these restaurants, and that fact is noted by their serving brunch. The brunch menu includes some familiar favorites and also some unusual items. Brunch Quesadilla, Prime Rib Omelet, Ham & Cheese Omelet and Eggs & Bacon or Sausage are all popular choices.
Children are not forgotten at O’Charley’s when it comes to menu choices. There are three brunch items listed and six more for regular meal times. Kids can choose a 5-oz. Steak, Bite-Size Shrimp, Grilled Chicken Breast, Kid’s Burger, Macaroni & Cheese or a Corn Dog. Each comes with a side item. They are generally inexpensive.
All of the meals offered in the restaurant are available for take-out. There are also parking spaces reserved near the front door that make it convenient for those who merely want to dash in and pick up their order. This is a popular feature for many families in which both husband and wife are employed.
O’Charley’s also has a bar. A full line of mixed drinks, cocktails and several brands of beer are served. Those who prefer to do so can also eat dinner in the bar area. In many locations, there are electronic game machines to play while waiting for your order.
One of the things that makes this restaurant chain popular with the public is a policy of being generous with coupons. O’Charley’s coupons can be secured in a number of different ways.
- Occasionally there is a “$5 off a purchase of $20” coupon in the newspaper. Most often, it will be found in the Sunday coupon section of the newspaper, but sometimes there is one in a regular news section of a weekday paper. There is also sometimes a full-color insert the size of a full half sheet of newsprint. These inserts contain an advertisement for O’Charley’s restaurants along with a $5-off coupon.
- eBay fan’s will be happy to learn that frequently O’Charley’s coupons are available at a low cost under the “Buy It Now” provision.
- Sometimes there is a special promotion in which a $5 gift card is given to everyone who purchases a $20 gift card.
- A person can also type “O’Charley’s coupons” into their favorite search engine, and it will bring up a number of websites which may have discounts available.
The Waitstaff and Management
This company does a good job of training its employees. The waitstaff seem to always be friendly, helpful and polite. More often than not, during the course of a meal, a manager will come by the table to greet customers and ask if everything is to their liking. The manager is open to chat for a few minutes, if the diners desire to do so.
O’Charley’s Restaurants are not exotic or high class fine dining. They are simply an excellent choice when a person wants good, well-prepared food served in nice surroundings by a pleasant waitstaff for a reasonable price.