Charlie Efstration came from Texas, where he owned a restaurant before he entered the military service. When his tour of duty ended and a visit with his brother brought him to Greenville in 1920, he liked the area so much he decided to make it his home.
Charlie's Steak House opened (just down the street from its present location) in March, 1921.
The business grew, forcing Efstration in 1933 to find a larger place – at 18 East Coffee Street, the present location, which was formerly a vegetable market, right across the street from the YMCA. Charlie purchased it and rebuilt the entire building.
During the Depression years of the 1930s, Efstration donated soup and bread to those in the food lines at the YMCA. He also sent soup to the local schools.
In 1935, a local radio station made a nightly broadcast from the restaurant. The program featured a live band and drew huge crowds.
Charlie's sons, Paul and Peter, officially joined the business after serving in World War II. A cafeteria for lunch served many downtown business people and shoppers until 1972. Dinner has always been table served. Beef served at Charlie's is dry-aged and for more than 60 years was cut by Paul, who worked until his death in 2008.
The restaurant is managed today by Kay Efstration, granddaughter of Charlie. Now in its 89th year, it is a downtown landmark and maintains a loyal following.