Charlie O’Briens, 865 Elk Street Buffalo, NY 14210
****Charlie O’Briens is no longer in business**** (updated 1/12/13)
Charlie O’Briens has gone through many behind-the-scenes transformations over the years including changing ownership. It’s been a long time since we had been there. We gave it up after having a few too many bad experiences.
They used to do these BBQ chicken fingers that I miss dearly. I know! Of all things to base my opinion on, you’re wondering why I’m worrying about chicken fingers. If I recall correctly, they had a really nice homemade sauce (I may recall seeing some onion on my plate) and were cooked a bit on the grill. Served along side their beautiful steak fries, it was a wonderful thing. But then things changed and they weren’t being made that way anymore. So, when I heard that one of the previous cooks had come back, I thought we’d give it another try. Scott used to be a big fan of their fish fry, too.
Despite the changes, my dad has continued to be a regular. It happened that the night we picked for our visit, he was going to be there with a few of his friends so we met up. We had great service, but I have to say in all honesty that I’m not sure that would’ve been the case had we not been with a group of “regulars.” Our waiter, Anthony, was a great sport as we teased him about the shortcomings that we experienced and why Scott and I were there after all this time.
It started off with my dad asking for a refill on his Jack and Coke and finding out that they were out of Jack. It is a bar, right? Then, our food was cold. Everything from roast beef and gravy, the fish fries and my chicken fingers. Anthony took care of it promptly.
Now, as far as the chicken fingers go, despite having a previous cook back on staff, they were not the old way of doing them. Apparently the cook that came back wasn’t working that night so you may get different chicken fingers if you came on Saturday than we did on Friday. Yikes.
My dad broke the news to him that I was a blogger and I’d be writing about the experience and I gave him a business card. He assured me that he’d be sharing it with the owner and explained how they are trying to get people to come back in. The place was virtually empty on a Friday night at 6 pm. I know it was the day after Thanksgiving, but still.
So, here are my suggestions directly to the owner and staff of Charlie O’Briens since I know that someone is reading this:
- Start by serving the food when it’s hot.
- Go back to the old chicken finger recipe… every day of the week.
- Be consistent. Customers want to know that they are going to get a good meal because they’ve had it before.
- Stock your bar and your kitchen. Ordering Jack that you are out of or ribs that are the menu but no longer carry is not acceptable.
- Get rid of that stupid fabric towel thing in the bathroom. It’s disgusting.
- Turn on the damn heat. I’m at home peeling layers off because I’m dying of heat while everyone else is putting on sweaters but I come here and I can no longer feel my hands and feet.
- Give good service to all customers – not just the ones you know.
Finally, to my readers who are now thinking “Why in the world would I go there?”… my answer to you is… because they are going to fix problems, serve hot and delicious food and because Charlie O’Brien’s is a South Buffalo staple that deserves another chance.
Charlies: Don’t make a liar out of me.