10 Things You Never Knew About O'Charley's

10 Things You Didn’t Know About O’Charley’s

If you're from the South, you most likely know O'Charley's. And whether no weekend is complete without their $20.99 16-ounce prime rib, or if you've only had the chicken fingers and rolls, we bet there's a lot you didn't know about this popular chain. 

Founder Charley Watkins Got His Start at Shakey’s Pizza

Watkins' first foray into entrepreneurship was as a Shakey's Pizza franchisee. He moved his family to Nashville in 1966 to open it and stayed there to open O'Charley's five years later.

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The Original Menu Used Charley’s Wife’s Recipes

The dishes on the menu at the original Nashville location were based on the tried-and-true recipes of Charley's wife, Johnnie Watkins.

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Watkins Sold the Company to the Former CEO of Shoney’s

In 1984, Watkins sold his company to a man named David K. Watchel, who two years prior had stepped down as CEO of Shoney's, where he'd worked for 23 years. It's Watchel who's responsible for turning the restaurant into a chain; he stayed on board as chairman until 1994.

After Selling the Company, Watkins Developed Several More Concepts

Watkins didn't retire after selling O'Charley's at age 60. Instead, he spent his time developing more restaurant concepts, including a 1988 venture with his son called Cheeseburger Charley's.

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They Sell Whole Pies

You can order a whole pie to go; ranging in price from $10.99 to $12.99, they include double crust cherry pie, country apple pie, Southern pecan pie, and new lemon chess pie.

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You Can Sign Up for Special Offers, Coupons, and a Birthday Gift

By joining their O'Club, you'll get offers, discounts, and a special surprise on your birthday.

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If You Visit on a Wednesday, You Get a Free Slice of Pie

A relatively new offering, if you order an entrée on Wednesday then you'll get a free slice of pie for dessert.

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Their Famous Yeast Rolls are Sent to Each Restaurant Frozen

O'Charley's closed its Nashville commissary, which supplied food to all its restaurants, in 2007, and instead switched to foodservice company Performance Food Group. So while you might think that those rolls are being made from scratch in each kitchen, they're in fact being sent as frozen dough. If you want to make your own riff on those rolls at home, you can find a good copycat recipe here.

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Kids Eat Free Through Labor Day

Through Sept. 5, children ages 10 and under can receive a free kids entrée, side, and drink at every location except for the one at the Nashville airport.

If You Dined There in March or April, You Should Check Your Credit Card

If you used your credit card to pay at O'Charley's between March 18 and April 8 of 2016, you should keep a close watch on your bank account and credit card statements; there was a data breach at nearly every location. While nobody saw their accounts compromised as of late May, it's still good to be on guard. Sadly, this is nothing new in the chain restaurant world.