ONTARIO ─ After leaving the area for three years, Charleys Philly Steaks returned to Ontario on Tuesday with its submarine sandwich and more ─ including chicken wings.
The cheese steak restaurant is back at the same location on the corner of West Fourth Street and North Lexington-Springmill Road. It's open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Monday through Saturday. Hours for Sunday are from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Owner Rick Patel said the shop treated the first 25 customers to lunch on Tuesday. With the restaurant’s location and previous successful experience, he believes the business will take off.
The building remained empty since the previous Charleys restaurant was closed in 2017. Patel has owned another Charleys in Cleveland for 11 years. His team spent four months on the renovation and preparation of this store.
He is investing about $350,000 in the Ontario branch. He said he had to push back the opening a little because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To provide customers a safe dine-in area, general manager Tess Partin said they have spread out tables to keep everyone six feet apart. They also removed some chairs to boost social distance.
Face masks are required at the restaurant. Workers will wipe the countertop every hour. Plexiglass sheets have been put at the counter to protect customers and the cashiers.
Partin said the restaurant is not using trays or letting customers get the napkins and utensils themselves.
As for the menu, Partin said they are serving chicken wings this time. Hot flavors such as angry ghost and Thai chili are popular, while mild and medium flavors are available, too.
She recommended customers to try the famous Bacon 3 Cheesesteak sub. For those who prefer chicken, Chicken California and Chicken Buffalo are good options. Partin also predicted the lemonade would be a huge hit ─ just like it was. She worked at the previous Charleys restaurant 10 years ago.
“People will come in here and go through the drive-thru just for lemonade. They used to. I'm sure they still will,” she said.
She was 18 when she worked as a shift manager at this location previously. Besides Partin, the assistant manager and one of the cashiers were also on the last team. The restaurant was popular in the area.
Partin said she is a lot more comfortable with the new restaurant, especially because she operates it.