Location Spotlight: Charkies Restaurant
The timing of the 2008 economic recession could not have been worse for Andy Fronimos.
When it hit, Fronimos had already invested time and money into the new business he planned to open in Carol Stream called Charkies Restaurant. But despite the financial odds being stacked against him, Fronimos guided Charkies through the recession and is now in his 12th year serving up delicious restaurant-quality fast casual fare to the community.
“It was tough in the beginning,” Fronimos said. “That’s why the partnership with Gold Rush is great. You’re making earnings on something that’s just land. The machines never show up late to work.”
Being a restaurateur is in Fronimos’ blood as his dad owned a restaurant for nearly five decades. Fronimos worked there in a variety of capacities as a teenager and young adult, but swore he would never pursue the family business as a career.
“I never had any inclination of being in the restaurant business because I never had any weekends off. So I said, ‘When I get older, I’m going to make sure that I have my weekends off,’” Fronimo said with a laugh.
And although Fronimo still doesn’t have his weekends off, he is thrilled with his decision to open Charkies. The restaurant gives him an opportunity to showcase a menu full of items that he says are “stolen” from his father, while also providing the fast-casual dining experience that has grown in popularity in recent years.
Charkies provides its customers with homemade-quality meals such as meatloaf and steak sandwiches at a cost that is comparable to many fast food restaurants. In addition, all dine-in customers receive a free cup of soup, and of course, those ages 21 and older have access to the gaming area.
“I try to have good food, good service and then have the people come and experience the gaming while eating as well,” Fronimos said. “I try to marry those two together… That’s what we envisioned doing, and it’s come to fruition.”
And by littering the menu with high-quality, affordable options and utilizing a fast-casual approach to dining, Fronimos hopes to see most, if not all, of his patrons become regular customers.
“You get the dining experience, you get the restaurant quality, and then you don’t have to leave a tip,” Fronimos said. “…We figured, you save the 20 percent and then you get to come back during the week for another lunch or another dining experience.”
During the last couple years, Fronimos has built a strong rapport with his Relationship Manager, which has reaffirmed his decision to partner with Gold Rush.
“I really enjoy my rep. I have a really great relationship with Tony, and Tony cares about my business,” he said. “He wants to see my business grow, and I appreciate that. That’s a big factor, is my relationship with my rep. If I didn’t have that relationship with my rep, it would be just another guy. He goes above and beyond to meet whatever needs I have.”
The idea behind Charkies is a simple one: serve up quality dishes at an affordable price while offering an inviting dining atmosphere. And despite the ever-present temptations to cut corners to reduce costs, Fronimos says Charkies has, and always will, stay true to its roots.
“We’ve never deviated from the get-go,” he said.
Charkies Restaurant is located at 570 N. Schmale Road in Carol Stream. It is open from 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, visit www.charkies.com.