After what seemed like FOREVER (but really wasn't that long) staring at a "coming soon" sign in front of a restaurant that has been vacant for as long as we've lived here, Champy's finally opened on Monday. I had done a little digging online so I knew a little bit about it. My brother knew about them because they started in Chattanooga, which is where he went to high school and still has several friends so we knew. Jeff generally has a rule that he doesn't like to patronize a brand new place right after they open to give them a chance to get the kinks worked out. I understand, so I didn't give him a hard time about the opening of Champy's. I figured it would be at least a few weeks, but I was pleasantly surprised when he suggested it for dinner yesterday.
We headed in right about 5pm before things got too busy. The place wasn't empty, but it wasn't packed. We were greeted by several people and told to just have a seat wherever. We got menus and ordered our drinks. We thought about ordering an appetizer, especially since Jeff loves fried pickle spears and they aren't available many places, but the price sort of scared us off. We agreed next time we will try some tamales, especially after hearing a waitress at another table say they can do a plate of 3 (even though the menu only says 6 and 12!)
For dinner, Jeff got a 3 piece white meat plate, which comes with beans, slaw, and white bread. I got a 4 piece chicken finger basket with fries. Why the chicken finger plate is 3 pieces and the basket is 4 is beyond my comprehension. The food was all very fresh and tasty. Jeff loved his beans and slaw and also had good things to say about my fries. I enjoyed the little bite of Jeff's chicken breast he shared also. We both enjoyed whatever kind of sauce came with the chicken finger basket, although I don't know if there are any other options because there was nothing on the menu and I was never given a choice of what kind of sauce I wanted. Next time I'll ask if they have something else! The Key Lime Pie for dessert was just ok. It wasn't bad, it was just a lot sweeter than what I would expect for key lime pie. I wouldn't order it again.
The service wasn't bad, but I definitely felt like our waitress was a little over-eager. We had barely had our dinner for five minutes (I hadn't even finished my first chicken finger!) when she was asking us if we wanted dessert. We ordered a slice of key lime pie and about 3 minutes after bringing the pie (still, less than halfway done with our dinner and hadn't even touched the pie) she was asking if we were ready for the check. Jeff just said "If you want to go ahead and bring it to us you can," and I ended up boxing up half my food, even though I wasn't really done eating, and just finished it at home.
If I have one big hang-up with this place, it's the use of so much disposable stuff, especially styrofoam. Normally I don't especially care. I'm not fundamentally opposed to styrofoam. I get that this is a casual place, but to me it seemed a bit excessive, especially for a table-service restaurant. Jeff and I have a theory that they put a piece of white bread UNDER the fried chicken to help soak up a little of the grease but to also keep the hot chicken from melting the plate! I don't care quite as much about pre-portioned sauce in little cups with lids, but I don't get a warm and fuzzy feeling when I get a slice of pie that's already sliced and in a little container with a lid because my general assumption is that it's been sitting for a while. I'd love to see them switch to even re-usable plastic cups and metal forks, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
Yes, I am sure we will be returning. I could definitely see this being a good take out option for us and there are plenty of other things on the menu we still want to try!