Checking out Chuck's: Old favorite eatery blossoms into new take on food, family

Nov. 25—RUSH — Chuck's on 60 is a family restaurant in more ways than one.

First, the food is down home: burgers, chicken, hot dogs, onion rings.

Second, there's a children's menu.

Third, the inspiration. That comes from owner Keith Watts's grandfather, Charles Vanover, to whom the restaurant pays tribute. Watts calls him the greatest man to ever live.

"Chuck was the best dad, grandpa, great grandpa, friend, and anything else you could imagine," Watts writes on the restaurant's Facebook page. "But if you're one of the lucky ones, you only knew him as Pa. Pa loved spending his days at Rosie's, which is now deservingly named after him."

Watts, who said he lives about 8 miles from the eatery, said he's leasing the building where his grandparents brought him on Sundays and where he brought his own children.

"It's always been a family thing," he said. "It's always about the good food, but also about making the memories. We're trying to be a place families can sit down and eat and make memories."

Time has changed the situation, but not the feelings.

"We never realized how much this place really meant to us until it was gone, and so were they," Watts said. "Our family has always had an ongoing joke of opening a restaurant and bakery for years upon years, and we can't imagine a better place to turn that into a reality."

For now, Chuck's is open from 4 to 9 p.m. daily, but Watts said he's looking to hire two more cooks so they can ease into opening for breakfast and lunch.

While Watts has no experience in food service, his daughter, Victoria Castle, has worked in food service for years, and his daughter-in-law, Samantha Watts, was general manager at RJ Kahuna's and The Winchester.

"We wanted to do this for a very long time and also for the girls because they both have kids and it's hard for them to work a full-time job and provide for the family and take care of the kids," Watts said, noting he pitches in, doing a "little bit of everything" when he's called to do so.

The women operate Baked and Brewed out of the restaurant, a bakery that provides Chuck's with desserts and also makes items for sale and catered events.

"So far, the cherry pie, peanut butter pie and apple pie have been the best sellers, and they are also my favorites," Watts said.

While many menu items will be familiar, there might be some unusual names.

For example, there's Cordon Bleu Mac, which Watts said is a spicier macaroni and cheese with ham and chicken on it and some bleu cheese in the pasta. Among the appetizers is mushrooms with honey mustard sauce reminiscent of those on the menu at C.R. Thomas in Ironton and Ashland.

Several items bear eye-catching names, such as cow patties (cheeseburger sliders) and Say Cheese Please on the children's menu and Our of this World and The Hangry on the burger menu.

"We want to make it fun. That's why we have the names we do," Watts explained.

The plan, he said, it so start offering specials after Thanksgiving and expand hours once the staff is complete.

"Rosie's was more than a restaurant to us for generations," Watts said. "It was happiness, memories and love. Our biggest hope for Chuck's is that we can be exactly that for everyone who walks through our doors."