Restaurant's quality beef came with novel concept of salad bar


POSTED: Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fifty years of success is impressive any way you slice it, and at Chuck's Steak House, it was the slicing of quality beef that secured just that. Well, beef along with what was a newfangled concept in 1959.

“;I'd never seen anything like it,”; says Chuck Rolles, owner of the original Chuck's at the Edgewater Hotel in Waikiki. “;It was a new thing: the salad bar. So, we offered a limited menu with a salad bar.”;

Rolles' approach of quality food at a reasonable price turned out to be evergreen. “;It was a winning formula that we thought would work anywhere in the world—and it really has.”;

At its peak in the 1970s, there were some 50 Chuck's Steak Houses all around the United States. Today there are a dozen: three in Hawaii (at Outrigger Waikiki Hotel, Outrigger East Hotel and Ko Olina Resort), a couple on the West Coast and others farther east, from Connecticut to Florida. The restaurants are all co-owned by Rolles along with partners who actually run each operation.

The original eatery was the brainchild of Rolles and Roy C. Kelly, Rolles' father-in-law and owner of the Edgewater. Rolles had just graduated from Cornell Hotel and Restaurant School and married the former Jean Kelly when Kelly built the hotel.

Chuck's now involves the next generation: Rolles' son, Scott, is co-owner of three restaurants. While time marches on, Scott doesn't see any reason to change an old formula that continues to deliver.

“;It's the predictability of it,”; he says. “;It's easy for people to grasp a good deal. We've kept it simple and it's done well.”;