Founded in 1974 by the father and son team of Charley and Ron Woodsby, Talk of the Town Restaurants, Inc. now encompasses ten restaurants in the Central Florida area. The privately owned, Orlando based company has a long-standing history of success in the restaurant industry.
From 1963 to 1983, Charley Woodsby was a co-owner of Gary’s Duck Inn on Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando. In 1968 Charley, along with William Darden, opened the first Red Lobster in Lakeland. They expanded the restaurants to five in Florida with franchises in Georgia and South Carolina. In 1970 they sold Red Lobster to General Mills, Inc. Ron Woodsby worked alongside his father opening franchises for General Mills for three years after the sale. Red Lobster has become one of America’s favorite seafood restaurants with over 680 locations in the United States and Canada.
The Woodsby’s continued their entrepreneurship by opening a steakhouse in 1973 in Lakeland named Talk of the Town and later expanded to four other locations in Winter Haven, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and Orlando. In 1984, the names of the restaurants were changed to Texas Cattle Company and the Orlando location was renamed Charley’s, after the family’s patriarch. The corporate office took on the name Talk of the Town Restaurants, Inc. and today has over 1000 employees with 64 million dollars in sales among ten restaurants.
The Woodsby’s restaurants have developed into nationally recognized establishments with awards ranging from the Golden Palm Restaurant Award to the Beef Backer Award to the “Award of Excellence” and “Best of Award of Excellence” in The Wine Spectator Magazine every year since 1995. Charley’s Steak House has been on America’s Top Ten Steakhouses list every year since 1995, being named Number 1 in the country in 2007. All the Charley’s Steak Houses and Vito’s Chop House, the company’s entry into the Italian market, have received the prestigious DiRoNA Award of Excellence. In the seafood category the Woodsby’s have 2 concepts making a big splash. First FishBones, which has been named to the Top Ten Seafood list since the list’s inception in 2001 and MoonFish, which was named to the Top Ten Seafood List in 2006 when FishBones was inducted into the Seafood Hall of Fame.
Charley Woodsby has semi-retired and Ron continues his father’s legacy of having the best restaurants in the business.