The Best Food to Order at O’Charley’s

O’Charley’s has been around since 1969 and is a Nashville, Tennessee original. Serving fresh salads, hearty soups, and classic southern comfort foods, it’s a great place to take the family to dinner or go on a date. It’s a chain and has almost 200 locations around the United States. 

O'Charley's Casual Dining Restaurant

O’Charley’s has often been compared with restaurants like Applebees, Chilis, and other family favorites. It serves similar items but focuses more on southern foods.

If you’ve never been to O’Charley’s or want to try something new, you might be wondering what the best food items on the menu are. 

Well, I’ve got answers for you. From appetizers to dessert, O’Charley’s has some delicious food (and some, in my opinion at least, that are not so tasty).

Here are the eleven best items on O’Charley’s menu. Next time you go, you’ll be prepared to have the best meal possible and enjoy your time in this American classic restaurant. 

Honey-Drizzled Southern Fried Chicken

What is better than fried chicken? Honey drizzled fried chicken.

O’Charley’s signature twist on fried chicken is just as delicious as it sounds. With mashed sweet potatoes and broccoli on the side, this southern favorite might be even better.

Try it with the strawberry lemonade for an amazing meal! 

The honey-drizzled southern fried chicken is on the Southern Comforts menu at O’Charley’s, which is right where it belongs.

As a callout to O’Charley’s Tennessee roots, everything on this section of the menu is warm, comforting, and full of delicious carbs. It’s okay–you’re at O’Charley’s, and that’s a safe space to eat good food. 

Chips & Spicy White Queso

One of the best (and healthiest) appetizer options at O’Charley’s, the warm tortilla chips with spicy white queso are a classic starter.

You can also substitute their kettle-cooked potato chips, but this queso was meant to pair with tortilla chips. 

The tortilla chips are regular chips and nothing to write home about, but that’s okay. They are mere vessels for O’Charley’s signature spicy white queso, which is gooey and melty and gloriously cheesy.

If you can’t wait for dinner, grab some spicy white queso to start your meal. 

O’Charley’s BBQ Ribs Platter 

O’Charley’s does ribs and does them well.

They offer a half-rack or full rack of slow-cooked, smoked ribs that are tender and delicious.

You can choose between three different marinades: the Nashville hot sauce, Carolina Gold BBQ sauce (a sweeter BBQ), or their signature BBQ sauce. 

My personal favorite is the signature BBQ sauce because it’s got a perfect BBQ flavor–tangy with a little spicy and a little sweet.

The ribs plate comes with two sides, but I like to keep the backyard barbecue theme and get corn on the cob and coleslaw (or a side salad–the Caesar cuts the spice of the BBQ sauce really well, in my opinion). 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

On a cold winter day, I love a good cup of soup to warm me up.

o'charley's chicken tortilla soup
Source: O’Charley’s

The chicken tortilla soup at O’Charley’s is no exception to this: it has the perfect amount of spice and heat to keep me completely warm. Made with cumin, green chile peppers, and tomatoes, this soup is a great side or accompaniment to a salad. 

Of course, the chicken tortilla soup has chicken and is topped with tortilla strips. I always ask for extra shredded cheese to put in it (this is because I love cheese a lot) and get it with a salad.

However, a cup of soup is the perfect appetizer for more warmth and comfort if you’re getting ribs, chicken strips, or their Cajun Chicken Pasta. 

Fresh Atlantic Grilled Salmon, Blackened

The blackened salmon at O’Charley’s is one of those dishes that customers come back for again and again.

It’s not only one of the healthier meals on the menu (salmon is a superfood, after all), but this wood fire-grilled salmon is just delicious. You can get healthy protein, calories, and omega-3s from this dish. 

Like many of the entrees at O’Charley’s, the Fresh Atlantic Salmon comes with two sides.

Stay healthy and get steamed broccoli and rice pilaf (one of my favorite combos), or go to the other extreme and try the bacon mashed potatoes with mac and cheese. No one’s judging you here! 

Grilled Top Sirloin Steak

Some people come to O’Charley’s for salads and soups, and others for southern comfort food.

However, O’Charley’s also does full entrees well, including their Top Sirloin steak. As all good steak, this is a top cut of sirloin, cooked to order and grilled to perfection by the O’Charley’s chefs. 

The Top Sirloin Steak comes with two sides. I usually get a vegetable (to even things out) like the grilled asparagus or steamed broccoli and the bacon mashed potatoes.

I feel like you have to combine steak with potatoes, or else it feels wrong, but maybe that’s just me.

Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich

Of all the food I’ve written about so far, the Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich might be my absolute favorite.

I love fried chicken, and I love spicy chicken sandwiches, so it’s like they made this menu item just for me. It’s a spicy chicken sandwich served with dill pickles, coleslaw, and french fries and tastes just as good as it sounds.

The Nashville chicken sandwich lives up to the hype–it’s spicy, it’s tender, and it’s delicious. The bun is soft and buttery, and the fried chicken is crispy and tender at the same time.

Anything with pickles and coleslaw is a win for me, and O’Charley’s has great french fries. If you like fried chicken sandwiches, I can’t recommend this one enough!

California Chicken Salad 

The California Chicken Salad is a salad, not a chicken salad (am I the only one who gets confused by that on menus?).

It is the perfect accompaniment to the chicken tortilla soup because it’s not spicy and can cut the spice with its mild and sweet flavors. 

The California chicken salad has grilled chicken, mandarin oranges, strawberries, candied pecans, dried cranberries, and blue cheese crumbles and is topped with a balsamic vinaigrette.

Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is just writing this–it’s an excellent salad and worth a try! 

Grilled Asparagus

One of the best sides on the menu, the grilled asparagus never seems to fail me.

It’s seriously so good, and asparagus at restaurants is usually hit or miss. Some restaurants have replaced it with fresh asparagus, which is a shame in my opinion. However, if you can get the grilled veggie, please do! 

Grilled asparagus is also one of the healthiest sides available, coming in at only 60 calories.

You can add it to any meal to add a touch of class and some more subtle (less greasy) flavors. This is one side that you can feel good about and enjoy eating! 

If you’ve looked through this list and thought, “I don’t want any of these things,” then maybe O’Charley’s isn’t for you.

These items are the best things on the menu and are all worth a try. However, if you’ve thought that these things sound delicious and are excited to try them, head to your nearest O’Charley’s and start ordering! 

O’Charley’s offers a full menu, including beer, wine, and cocktails (the strawberry daiquiri is also yummy). Eat a delicious, comforting meal of classic southern food, but don’t forget to save room for dessert! 

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.