Charleston’s Keeps ‘Em Coming Back

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Charleston’s Keeps ‘Em Coming Back
One of Oklahoma City’s most consistent restaurants pleases with classics

By Greg Horton

Charleston’s Restaurants have been making high-quality, moderately priced food for a couple decades now. One of Hal Smith Restaurant Group’s original concepts, Charleston’s is one of the most remarkably consistent restaurants in Oklahoma City. (There are six metro locations to choose from, including Norman and Edmond.)

One of the best things about eating at Charleston’s, besides the food, is the service. The training program for Charleston’s servers is an industry standard in the state, and the commitment to training shows immediately. A server will be assigned to a table, but all servers take care of the restaurant with a team approach. Your food won’t sit under a warmer while your server takes care of a large party; someone else brings it to you as soon as it’s ready.

The food, however, is what brings people back. There are several items that have always been on the menu, and it’s no surprise that Charleston’s does them as well or better than anyone else, starting with their queso. Yes, queso and chips at a restaurant known for American classics. Order it as an appetizer and you’ll understand why people come to Charleston’s just for the queso.

In the metro alone, you can choose from dozens of restaurants that make chicken tenders, but it’s likely you’ve never had any as good as Charleston’s. Served with French fries and cole slaw, you can ask for gravy or hickory barbecue sauce for dipping. As for chicken, try the Walt’s Champagne Chicken Salad if you’re wanting something lighter. Smoked chicken, figs, sweet pineapple, strawberries, and feta, all tossed with mixed greens and Champagne vinaigrette. It’s perfect for spring and summer, or really, all year round.

Charleston’s features a soup option every day, and they are excellent choice, but in all seriousness, people have been showing up for the Baked Potato soup for years. It’s served every day, and it’s loaded with cheese, bacon, and chunky potato. You can get a cup or a bowl, or you can do a soup and salad combo and enjoy Charleston’s amazing honey-butter croissants.

The hickory burger has been a staple on Charleston’s menu for years, and there is good reason for that. A delicious, cooked-to-order beef patty is served with two slices of Canadian bacon, cheddar, onion, and smoky, sweet hickory barbecue sauce. Ask for an extra ramekin of sauce; you’re going to want it.

There are plenty of options on the entrée menu, including steak, chicken, fish, smoked salmon, and pork chops, but Charleston’s makes some of the best baby back ribs available anywhere. Served with their delicious baked beans and French fries, these ribs literally fall off the bone as soon as you touch them with a fork. You can also do a ribs and roasted chicken combo.

Recently, Charleston’s committed to upgrade their wine list, and that is exactly what they did. They added some classic wines like Clos du Val and Erath, but also chose some newer, up and coming names like Four Vines Naked, Columbia Crest Horse Heaven Hills, and J Vineyards. A full bar is also available, serving specialty and classic cocktails.

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