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Good Time Charlie’s

Fresh food, fresh look, good times

Good Time Charlie’s in Shueyville boasts an impressive menu, welcoming atmosphere

SHUEYVILLE– Everyone has a Good Time Charlie in his or her life.
He’s the guy who’s always up for anything. The friend who convinces you to stay for just one more round at the bar. The guy whose life experiences are significantly more colorful and carefree than the rest of us working stiffs.
For the owners of Good Time Charlie’s in Shueyville, it was the perfect name for their newest bar and restaurant.
Co-owners Brian Winders and Jordan Caviness purchased Good Time Charlie’s, previously the Dry Dock, this past May. After a relatively short and easy purchasing process that took only a few weeks, they closed the restaurant for a month to complete renovations. The new bar and grill reopened June 16.
“We wanted to just give it a clean look, not a lot of neon, and incorporate our logo into things,” Winders said. “We cater to anyone from farmers to doctors, all kinds of clientele.”
The duo began working together in the food business about five years ago, and met when Caviness coached Winders’ son in baseball. Winders had been in the industry for over 10 years and Caviness was familiar with the business through his grandfather, who owned his own restaurant. The pair now owns several bars and restaurants in the Cedar Rapids area, and Good Time Charlie’s is their fifth project together. They also now own Shuey’s Restaurant and Lounge, just next door to Charlie’s.
One of the most important qualities Winders and Caviness wanted in the restaurant was to make sure their food wasn’t the usual, fried bar food fare. Fresh, quality ingredients were key in making sure Good Time Charlie’s stood out from the crowd.
“The menu was something we really focused on when we first came out,” Winders said. “We wanted it to be a notch above the typical fare.”
So, they drew inspiration from dishes that had been well-received in their previous restaurants, with an emphasis on homemade dishes, from the dough in their pizzas to the sauces on their burgers and sandwiches.
The massive, half-pound Charlie Burger, for instance, is a behemoth of a burger, topped with homemade coleslaw and pulled pork, which they smoke in-house for about five hours.
“It’s all pretty much handmade,” Caviness said. “There’s not much stuff we’re just pulling out of the freezer.”
The restaurant also incorporates daily food specials, including half priced pizza on Wednesdays and wing night on Thursdays.
Along with the emphasis on food, Winders and Caviness have also worked on getting a live music scene going when the lights go down. A small stage sits at the back of the bar and showcases local musicians on Friday and Saturday nights. According to Winders, on those nights it becomes so packed that it’s standing room only.
But because neither co-owner is from Shueyville, the two weren’t sure how well the new bar would be received at first. So, they made sure to spend plenty of time incorporating themselves into the tight-knit community. What they found was that locals were more than willing give Good Time Charlie’s a try.
“We had a lot of people approach us in the parking lot asking ‘hey when do you guys open?’” Caviness said. “We had a great first week. A ton of people came out.”
Now Caviness and Winders spend almost every day in Shueyville, networking with local businesses and getting to know the bar’s regular crowd. Most of their work, Caviness said, is simply communication and relationship building.
Caviness enjoys the community so much that he’s even started to do a bit of house hunting.
“I’d love to move here; it’s a good area” he said. “I just looked at a house here the other day.”