Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Business

January 26, 2014

Charley's owner back to his roots

Philly Steak shop now open on East Boulevard

Caleb Thatcher spent most of his career in the world of fine dining, in Indianapolis, working his way through about every role there is, short of the one he’s in now – ownership.

“I’ve worked about every station there is. Front of the house, back of the house, you name it,” said the owner of Charley’s Philly Steaks, the new eatery sandwiched (excuse the pun) in between Five Guys and Orange Leaf on East Boulevard.

It opened Dec. 13, and business started out strong, driven by word of mouth. With two of the nation’s buzziest eateries right next door, it wasn’t hard to be noticed.

A 1994 Taylor High School graduate, Thatcher said he fell in love with the restaurant business in his college years. He’s been in the business for almost 20 years, at Sullivan’s Steak House, Dunaways and the former Café Nora in Indy, all three among the most widely-admired restaurants in the Circle City.

His experience with Charley’s started when he was at Sullivan’s, and he would walk over to the old food court at the Keystone Fashion Mall to eat.

“It was love at first bite. It’s something unique, and different, and the food speaks for itself,” Thatcher said.

He’s now the front man for East Boulevard Philly LLC, and managing a busy crew which includes manager Jason Sell, formerly of the Sycamore Grille.

The menu offers variations on the tried and true Philly cheesesteak, the delectable combination of thinly sliced steak, set down on a flat grill along with onions, mushrooms and green bell pepper, all chopped together and seasoned, before being topped with provolone cheese and deposited onto a hoagie bun.

Try it with pepperoni, or with sliced chicken instead of beef. Teriyaki style sandwiches, banana peppers, hold the bell peppers … there are a million variations.

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