Ole Tyme Charley's - Plains

Great Value and Good Ole Tymes at Charley's!

Ole Tyme Charley's is a gigantic restaurant and bar and restaurant in Plains that is known for it's great food and drinks at extremely reasonable prices.  I also get quite a few people recommending that I try their pizza.  In my endless quest to try all of the pan fried Sicilians in NEPA, I made a recent trip there with the First Lady of NEPA Pizza and the Pizza Prince (my wife and youngest kiddo if you're new to the blog)!  We parked and noticed a sign on the door that said the bar area was a smoking section, and that we should use the separate street entrance for non-smoking which was nice having a child along for the ride.  I will say we weren't quite sure if this place would be good for kids or not, but within a moment of walking in the door, the wait staff was so welcoming and kind to us and got to learn the Pizza Prince's name right away.  We were also in our own separate dining room free from smoke which put us at ease.

The First Lady and I looked at the very extensive menu of affordable appetizers to order with our pizza, but were informed of the Friday Special of a full tray of red or white pizza and a dozen wings for $15.95 and our minds were made up!  A tray of pizza this size (Old Forge size Sicilian, not old forge pizza) usually costs $14 to $17 or more in most places in the area so it was like ordering a pizza and getting a dozen of wings for free!  I'll also note that places rarely sell wings by the dozen and the average price per wing is somewhere between $.80 and $1.00 based on my anecdotal analysis of every menu I look at.  What I'm trying to say here is that we were getting somewhere between $24 to $29 in value for only $15.95 with the special.  This extreme value more than warrants a 5 out of 5 on the rating scale below.

I usually leave the Wing Reviews to The NEPA Wing Men, but these wings were special enough for me to talk about.  First, they were jumbo wings, not the little ones that some places serve.  I know some people like small wings, but for me it's the bigger the better.  Next, these wings were cooked beyond perfection.  They came out so crispy, but not overcooked and still had a ton of meat and a moist center.  Many times crisp wings mean dry wings, but the fryer temps, the cook times, the wing prep, and the person working the fryer must have known exactly what they were doing to prepare the best cooked wings I've had in the last decade.  The mild sauce was also excellent.  I'm typically a fan of a simple buffalo wing sauce - Frank's Red Hot, Butter/Margerine, and minimal additives. I like it simple and I'm not a fan of heavy sweeteners or Worcestershire that some places put in their sauce.  That being said, Ole Tyme Charley's prepared a super complex and balanced mild sauce that at the same time had such a simplicity to it that it sort of blew my mind!  My foodie brain usually tries to immediately dissect the ingredients of something I'm eating, but it was one of those rare moments where I just sat back, enjoyed, and gave OTC's its due knowing I'd never be able to recreate that sauce or anything close to it!

The pizza looked pretty good, but the dim mood lighting didn't do the pictures any justice so don't use these for reference as my smart phone camera didn't perform up to par in this environment.  The pizza started at the bottom with a very sturdy base in what seemed very similar to a thick, prefab old forge shell.  I don't know for sure, but I've used many similar shells at home over the years when I don't make my own dough so I noted the comparison.  The crust was cooked to a fantastic and light crisp on the bottom thanks to it being cooked in oil.  It was neatly browned on the edges and pillowy soft in the center.  On top of the crust was a layer of hearty and moderately seasoned sauce which packed a ton of flavor which was an unexpected twist in a region that relies on a minimalistic approach to seasoning tomatoes!  I did choose to add onions to the sauce as I always do with the pan fried Sicilian trays.  The cheese resting atop the pizza seemed to be something of a mozzarella or similar blend and was finished with a dusting of oregano.

Overall, this pizza was an extreme value as part of the dozen wings and full tray of pizza Friday special.  It was a solid pub pizza with a lot of flavor and a hearty thick crust.  Where the red may not have scored as high as some of the other Sicilians I have reviewed, it bears noting that most people recommend to me the white pizza, the dill pickle pizza, and other gourmet pizzas here.  In addition to providing great value on the tray, the wings were absolutely remarkable and the staff was so friendly and attentive that we want to get back as soon as possible for a white pizza and another flavor of wings!  What are your favorite pizza and wing flavors at OTC?  Hit me up in the comments and let me know!

The Ratings

Restaurant: Ole Tyme Charley's 
Location: Plains, PA
Date: August 2019
Eat In/Take Out: Eat In
Pizza Ordered: Full Tray Red
Price: Friday Special $9.95

Crust: 3.25/5
Sauce: 3/5
Cheese: 3.5/5
Overall Taste: 3.5/5
Crispy/Cooked Properly: 5/5
Overall Value: 5/5
Similar to: Norm's Pizza, III Guys Pizza


Plains 4213912735543033785

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