Sunday, February 15, 2009

Staley's Charcoal Steak House

Mid-60's interior shot

1978 menu

1975 ad

Above matchbooks courtesy of Robert McEwen

In the 1960's, Charlotte's hottest restaurant trend was charcoal steakhouses. Most of them were located in a one mile radius along West Morehead St and Wilkinson Blvd. Steak was in demand and charcoal-cooking was the preferred method.

One of the best of all of the charcoal steakhouses was Staley's on Wilkinson Blvd. It opened in the early-60's and ran until the mid-80's. They featured a "charcoal room" where the steaks were cooked, had nightly entertainment, and offered a dining room which featured red leather seating (the steakhouse look of the time). Staley's was so popular, they eventually opened a second, more formal (less steak-oriented) restaurant/lounge on Clanton Rd.

By the late-70's, these steakhouses were waning in popularity and most were all gone by the early-80's. Today, only two still exist in Charlotte.

Press Box **CLOSED**

The famous exterior-awning--removed during the last renovaton

1979 menu

1970's matchbook (courtesy of Robert McEwen)

Charlotte's longest-running sports bar has closed. Opened for over thirty years on Montford Dr, the Press Box closed its doors for good at the end of January 2009. Nestled in the heart of a street filled with a large assortment of restaurants and bars, the Press Box was always a popular destination and had developed a loyal following. It was one of the first area bars to feature an outdoor patio and its "Camel Rider" sandwich was an area favorite (hot ham & cheese on a pita with homemade Italian dressing). Between its outdoor patio and red leather booth interior, the Press Box quickly became a Charlotte institution. Throughout the '80's and early '90's, the Press box also had a second restaurant called the Coach's Corner at Carmel Commons Shopping Center (same menu/same interior). 

New plans call for the restaurant to be completely gutted by the new owner and transformed into a "gastro pub" (a pub that offers high-end food versus standard pub-fare of wings and burgers). Throughout the years, the Press Box had become a favorite of many. It will be greatly missed.


Above nine photos show the original interior pre-Mid-90's renovation

Early-'60's postcard

Mid-70's postcard

James Gardner & Dick Smothers enjoying the Amber House - 1969

Original 1957 menu from opening day

Late-80's menu

1979 menu

Cover of the current menu

The Amber House opened on N Tryon St in 1957. At the time, this area was mostly farm land--the Speedway was two years away and (now) nearby UNCC was eight years away from opening.

The Amber House was one of the first area restaurants to specialize in charcoal-cooked steaks and today, it was one of the last that features this style of cooking. Other than a major interior renovation in the mid-90's, the Amber House has stayed about the same as when it originally opened. It offers a wide menu (several items have been on the menu since the restaurant first opened) and it can boast a loyal clientele that has spanned several generations.

While the North side of town has undergone major changes throughout the years, it is reassuring that the Amber House continues to thrive today much like it did 52 years ago.

Revision - 10-16-11

1966 photo

1969 photo