Owner plans to build new restaurant off Plaza Drive
MOORESVILLE – Don’t judge a book by its cover. And don’t judge Ten O’Clock Charlies by the appearance of its interior. Customers have a long walk down a hall to get to the restaurant.
“I call it the Green Mile,” owner Ray Ryoti said, laughing.
The décor could be described as ‘dive bar’ except for one glaring anomaly: the food.
Ryoti brings out plate after plate of good-looking, great-tasting fare that belies the atmosphere of the place. The restaurant is housed in the old Comedy Zone and still has a very open feel with the bar as the center attraction feel to the space.
“Well, we used to be a bar that had food,” Ryoti said. “Now we’re a restaurant that happens to have a bar.”
Plans are underway to create a space worthy of his wonderful food.
Ryoti has bought the land behind the closed Biscuitville on Plaza Drive and plans to build a restaurant in the next year.
Ryoti is originally from Marquette, Mich. In December 1987, he moved to Charlotte to escape the brutal winters and join his parents who had already relocated. All through high school in Michigan and once he arrived in Charlotte, he worked in the restaurant business.
He opened up Ten O’Clock Charlies in 2000.
“I really loved Mooresville,” Ryoti said. “And thought it would be the perfect place for a great restaurant.”
The name comes from a logger from his hometown, named Charlie Laurich, who got to the site every day at 6 a.m. He would work until 9 a.m. and then visit the bank, returning to the site around 10 a.m. All the workers, having arrived to work just after 9 a.m., would razz him for being ‘late’ by calling him Ten O’Clock Charlie.
“It used to drive him crazy,” Ryoti said. “It was really funny.”
The menu at the restaurant is quite large, featuring salads, sandwiches, seafood and steaks. The ribs absolutely fall off the bone. The roadrunner sandwich is a thing of beauty with fried turkey breast mixed with sautéed onion, peppers, pepper jack cheese and mushrooms on an oversized panella bun.
The kitchen staff is constantly coming up with new daily specials. They’ve fried Oreos and created glorious beer-battered chicken fingers with succulent chicken and a greaseless crunch.
There are lunch specials every day for $5, $6, $7 or $8. Each price includes a beverage and all applicable tax.
“So you can come in with just that right amount of money and get a great tasting, large lunch,” Ryoti said.
The kid’s meals featuring grilled cheese, mini corn dogs, a hamburger and more cost $3.99 and include French fries and a drink.
There is a nicely laid-out private room toward the front of the restaurant that can be rented out free of charge as long as food is ordered from the restaurant. The room is good sized with long tables and it’s own bar. The Rotary Club often meets here as well as other businesses and families.
Ryoti is pleased with his yearly positive growth and serving the patrons of Mooresville and beyond.
“It won’t be long until I’m in my new place,” he said. “But in the meantime, I can promise you a good, hearty meal at a fair price.”
Want to go? Ten O’Clock Charlies 455 E. Plaza Drive, Mooresville 704-799-9771.