Best of Springfield: Charlo’s finding its place in the area dining scene

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Moving into an area already offering a number of restaurants and eateries can be uncertain for a new business owner. Just months after opening at 45 N. Fountain Ave., Charlo’s Provisions and Eatery had already earned its place.

Offering dine-in and carry-out options including a menu of American heritage foods along with a small market with several items featuring an emphasis on locally-grown and produced items, Charlo’s has almost immediately built a customer base.

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It has proven popular enough with customers to have claimed in the 2022 Best of Springfield honors including first place Best New Business and second in Best Burger and Best Lunch Spot. Charlo’s owner Chad Druckenbroad is already working to make things even better.

“It’s been good so far, better than we expected,” he said.

Already the owner of the popular local E.A.T. food truck, Druckenbroad decided to try a brick-and-mortar eatery. He noted the downtown revitalization, specifying the success of Winans Chocolates and Coffees, which is across the street.

Add in the townhouses a couple streets over and plans for more apartment spaces downtown, and he envisioned Charlo’s serving in multiple ways. Druckenbroad chose a new space attached to the Park at the 99 parking garage opposed to moving to a revamped space and combined the names of his daughters – Charlotte and Logan – for the business name.

Delays pushed the opening from spring back to summer, but that may have only heightened the anticipation as Charlo’s quickly found an audience.

“People love the food, the design, the service, the fresh flowers on the tables,” he said of the feedback. “Hospitality is one my main goals.”

Besides the burger, other popular menu items include the chicken salad club sandwich, shrimp and grits, slow-cooked brisket over mac and cheese and butcher’s cut steak.

Charlo’s is divided between the sit-down restaurant portion and the market. The latter offers meats, vegetables, milk, condiments and other items. Druckenbroad reached out to local vendors and strives to use Ohio-made products from within a 25-mile radius when possible.

He’ll be adding more retail as time goes on.

“We’re not Kroger, but we have what people can get to make dinner for the evening and we’re constantly getting in new items,” he said.

Druckenbroad also strives to offer something different. For instance, he has one customer who buys all his Portugal sardines, while Muddy Bites snacks are another popular item along with Honey Creek beef and chicken. He’d like to add cuts of meat, fish and other proteins for affordable prices in the future.

Even the Coca-Cola cooler provides a need. Druckenbroad had heard from people who work downtown that places to grab a quick pop were scarce and Charlo’s has fulfilled that thirst.

In coming months, Charlo’s customers will find daily lunch specials and items like risotto added. Druckenbroad is also waiting on a license to sell alcohol.

He’s also listening to customer requests, including having more gluten-free options. An appetizer is in the works to meet that.

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