Myrtle Beach Restaurants: Chuck’s Preserves Renaissance Era of Steak Houses

Restaurant writer Becky Billingsley profiles a steak-lover's delight: Chuck’s Steak House in Myrtle Beach, which takes diners who want to experience the “Renaissance Age” of steak houses back to a flavorful era.

Story & Photos by Becky Billingsley

For steak lovers who want to experience the “Renaissance Age” of steak houses, Chuck’s Steak House in Myrtle Beach takes diners back to a flavorful era.

Chuck Rolles was a 5’6” guard at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, who set a school record for scoring 1,253 points during his varsity career and also had a single-game scoring record with 42 points.

After he graduated in 1956, Rolles was a U.S. Navy pilot and married Jean Kelley Rolles. In 1959, in Hawaii, the couple opened their first steak house. It was a departure from conventional steak houses of the day, because it was more casual and relaxed.

In the 1960s Chuck and Jean brought Chuck’s Steak House to California and are credited with introducing the salad bar concept to the mainland. Today there are a dozen Chuck’s Steak Houses in the U.S., and only one in South Carolina.

The Myrtle Beach Chuck’s Steak House has a rambling interior with several dining areas on different levels. To the right of the front door is a large bar, and beyond that on an elevated platform is the Library, which is surrounded by shelves of books. There’s a sunny and secluded dining room down a couple of stairs, and its windows overlook a pond. Two larger dining areas are to the left, and another is upstairs.

The décor is a hunter’s dream with many species of wild game, from elk and moose to ducks and deer. Diners dress casually.

Cheeses and crackers are set out for pre-dinner munching, such as sliced Pepper Jack and creamy port wine Cheddar spread, and salad bars feature greens, dozens of toppings and several tasty dressings like tomato balsamic vinaigrette.

Chuck’s has an approachable and affordable wine list with several decent bottles priced less than $30. Domestic and imported bottled beers are offered along with Michelob Ultra or Michelob Amber Bock on draft, which can be served in Chuck’s Big Beer glass that holds 28 ounces. Cocktails feature premium liquor brands like Gordon’s Gin and Scoresby Scotch.

Appetizers span a range of tastes. Blackened Beef Tips celebrate the restaurant’s steak roots, while pulled pork sliders and Carolina jumbo lump crab cakes reflect the culinary heritage of coastal South Carolina. The crab cakes are excellent and have a unique crunchy coating made from crushed potato chips.

Hand-cut charcoal-broiled steaks are the main attraction at Chuck’s, and they come with a trip to the salad bar, freshly baked rolls, and a choice of baked potato, rice or fries. Steak cuts include sirloin, teriyaki sirloin, New York strip or filet mignon, and they all come in large or small portions. Prime Rib is available in 8- or 16-ounce sizes, and it’s served with hot jus and creamy horseradish sauce.

Other entrees include center cut pork chops, lobster tails, shrimp scampi, fresh salmon and chicken that can be grilled, barbecued or blackened. Tender Baby Back Ribs are slathered in barbecue sauce.

For those who enjoy dining a little lighter, several burgers featuring house-ground beef come with fries, as do several sandwich choices like smoked pulled pork barbecue and a prime rib sandwich topped with mozzarella and sautéed onions.

Many diners plan to visit Chuck’s Steak House between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m., when every day a special menu offers full meals priced $11-$23. People ages 55 or older have a special group of smaller portioned selections, and children ages 12 or younger can choose meals (complete with salad bar, rolls and starch) featuring pulled pork slider, chicken tenders, fish and chips, and more.

Chuck’s Steak House is at 9695 N. Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach, and the number is 843-449-7611. It opens daily at 4 p.m.; dinner starts at 4:30.