A Youngstown Staple. A Regional Attraction: Charlie Staples Barbecue

For many in Youngstown, Ohio, Charlie Staples Bar-B-Que is actually a staple in thier life of dining choices. It’s a hometown favorite. Their phones are as busy taking orders for pick up as is thier in-house lines at the counter. This restaurant has been around for over 40 years and even attracts people from as far as Akron who make the trek to The Yo just to get some food from “C Staples” as it’s referred to as by those well-familiar.

It sits on the corner of W. Rayen Ave and Belmont, just outside of downtown and at the bottom of the Northside. For the past 15 years or so, it’s sat in a rather revamped industrial building. Some who grew up in Yourngstown during the 70s and 80s will recall it being at a location further up on Belmont in a much smaller building. A solid family-owned and managed restaurant by husband and wife Charlie and Marge Staples, it has become a landmark both geographically and culturally to Youngstown.

Nonetheless, over the past few decades Charlie Staples has been keeping his doors swiveling from people coming for his special Signature Bar-B-Que Sauce. The sauce itself has its own story. As it goes, it was originally created by a woman down south (no surprise there, I’d say) and, which was used for 28 successful years be her and her husband. After the husband passed away, the woman moved to Youngstown and ended up selling the recipe in 1939 to a man named Bill Robinson. At the time, Robinson had a barbecue stand for 35 years which he eventually sold to Charlie in 1974. It took over a year before actually he would agree to sell the sauce recipe though, because Robinson wanted to make sure that Charlie had the chops to run the business. After eventually selling, they entered into an agreement that the recipe would not be changed at all.

It’s currently still as original as it was in 1911 and is steady being applied to chicken breast strips and is the preferred dipping sauce for the fries to many who are return customers. If you’re familiar you know all about being asked if you want the sauce on the fries.

Of course there’s more there than the common barbecue servings. You can also get fish and other seafood dishes, as well as desserts. You can even post up at the bar in the first dining area.

That’s right, they have two indoor dining areas, both of which are well kept and decorated with extreme thoughtfulness. The first dining area is attached to the take-out counter. This is also where the bar is, and features decorations about the local university’s sports teams as well as the two rivaling local NFL teams — the Browns and the Steelers. As you can imagine, during the weekends this area is a bit more crowded with locals who’ve known each other for years as well as YSU students who live in the university housing next door.

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Going into the second dining area, you’re escorted into a super laid back atmosphere which is modeled after the French Quarters in New Orleans. This area is way larger than the first dining area, and is great for accommodating groups. However, a real treat to Youngstowners is the outside rooftop patio to sit at when the weather is warm and sunny.

Youngstown is a city that has suffered some serious hardships economically, and of course socially as a result of that. So many restaurants and businesses altogther flew on out to the suburbs like Boardman, Austintown, Canfield and others. Charlie has a deep-rooted affinity and sense of loyalty to the city of Youngstown though and chose to keep his business located inside of the city. His sense of purpose also inclines him to feel pleased to serve the local residents who have always supported him since the beginning. Moving his business out of the city was something that he was suggested on a regular basis. Regardless, his faith and love for the city of Youngstown kept him rooted pretty much where it started, and he’s been going strong still.