Ches’s reopens in Copperas Cove
By LYNETTE SOWELL
A longtime Copperas Cove restaurant that had closed its doors more than 20 years ago held a grand opening on Friday morning.
Ches’s is now open in the site of the former Ichiban Buffet on Business 190 and is owned and operated by Justin and Desiree Henderson.
Justin is the son of Eddie Henderson, who owned and operated the first Ches’s in Copperas Cove from the 1980s until mid 1990s.
Desiree Henderson said when she arrived at the restaurant at 3:30 a.m. Friday, a line was already forming prior to the 5 a.m. opening.
It didn’t take long on Friday for the parking lot and the tables inside to fill up, with the first 50 customers receiving Ches’s ceramic coffee cups with which they’ll receive coffee for a year.
The parking lot stayed full all day Friday, with the wait time for a table reaching 40-45 minutes at suppertime.
Then, Ches’s only had one case of catfish left and was about to run out, Desiree said.
“We made the decision to close around 7:50 Friday night. There were 81 people still seated and we decided it wasn’t in the best interest of our customers to stay open that night, especially if we couldn’t serve them catfish,” Desiree said. “We contacted our distributor Friday night and they were able to get us 40 more cases that was enough for Saturday and Sunday.”
The restaurant reopened Saturday as well as Sunday, Mother’s Day. Desiree admitted that Friday was ‘chaotic” but Saturday and Sunday ran more smoothly with curtaining off Jerry’s Hall.
Desiree said service issues are being addressed with the current service staff. Of the total 42 employees, 15 of those are the Hendersons’ experienced, senior staff. The remainder of the employees are brand-new hires.
“We spent a week in staff training prior to opening, but even so, the staff needed to better learn the menu,” Desiree said, when given the example of customers reporting they didn’t receive all of their food order at once. She added that the restaurant is still hiring and welcomes experienced servers.
Ches’s will continue to be open from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. seven days a week and still offer its daily specials for $10.99 daily, with Monday being spaghetti night; Tuesday, tacos; Wednesday, catfish; Thursday, schnitzel; Friday, catfish; Saturday, finger steaks; and Sunday, chicken fried steak.