By: Zach Hineman
Charlie’s Family Kitchen, affectionately named after a dog, is a down-home restaurant for good southern eats with an inviting family-like environment. Owned and operated by Ryan Willis, who left the construction business to pursue a passion for food: Charlie’s was born from his previous franchise named “Louie’s Chicken Fingers”. After opening 5 locations, Ryan made the change and settled on a single location on the plains. He loves Auburn and the “big town, small community” feel, and FetchMe is here to get the scoop.
Ryan learned to cook from his grandmother and is using his restaurant to pass those same skills on his family. It’s easy to see the values that Charlie’s brings to the table, as Ryan’s immediate family can be seen serving up food so customers can “eat like you’re at your momma’s house.”
Born from these family values is a commitment and connection to the local community unlike many others. While Charlie’s has business “competition” in the traditional sense, they don’t approach it in a traditional manner. Instead of aiming to have the most business, Charlie’s works toward being the best it can be alongside other community-driven restaurants.
Being Better By Being Different:
While big box stores will always be around, Ryan believes that small businesses drive local families, and small businesses need the involvement of the community to continue serving up big plates with a smile every day. With this belief, CFK works its hardest to earn the customer’s business instead of waiting for the customer to hand their time to them. Armed with their community-driven mindset, Charlie told FetchMe that he aims to work alongside other businesses to best serve their community and to bring its people good food.
An important ownership facet are the goals that each restaurant has for their eating establishment, where they plan to go with their business, and what their motivation is for serving and feeding the community. To Ryan, these are simple questions with simple answers. Ryan’s goals are to make it a cornerstone of the community, somewhere anybody can walk in hungry, and feel welcomed. He wants to grow into something special that he can pass on to his children to support their success.
At CFK, the pleasant company is served with an array of foods as if from an old Southern cookbook. They dine on everything from chicken wings, hamburgers, and potato salad to chicken tenders. You can even top it all off with a cookies and drinks. Open for takeout, pickup, or dine-in, you can get your favorite southern foods however you want from Charlie’s Family Kitchen.
Personal Favorites from Up Top:
Ryan’s personal favorite is a nice, hearty rack of ribs, and their star of the menu is the catfish plate. In addition to their static menu, Charlie’s has a few rotating deals and specials. Their most popular are their Friday specials, BBQ or Whole Hog Fridays. They roast and bbq a 40lb hog, wide assortment of meats from pork and beef to smoked catfish and chicken. In addition, Charlie’s offers Tuesday and Thursday specials of hamburger steak and shrimp plates for a quick, satisfying bite.
Charlie’s exercises its belief in the interaction between citizens and local businesses. They welcome everybody through their doors with open arms and full plate in hand. When asked for closing comments or advice, Mr. Willis reiterated his overwhelming appreciation to the people of Auburn for helping them throughout their restaurant journey. Ryan provided some words of encouragement to other budding restaurateurs like himself: “You have to work, and be involved. It won’t run itself.” Use code CFK03 for $3 off you order with FetchMe!
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