Back in November, Downtown Tempe asked the public who their favorite Downtown Tempe Small Business was and they answered!
The results are in and the winner is…
The masses have spoken and we are honored to crown The Chuckbox with the “Favorite Small Business of 2019” crown.
Downtown Tempe sat down the long-time managers of The Chuckbox to get their reactions to their win and the secrets to their success. Turns out, old school is the way of the future for this small business.
"I think it’s great that we won,” said Paul Marquardt, General Manager of The Chuckbox. “We were up against some pretty iconic places.”
The Chuckbox has been open for 47 years and there are no plans to move, close or change anything at all. After almost five decades of success, why would anyone want to change now?
The employees of The Chuckbox have made a career out of serving Downtown Tempe and its visitors. Chris Guthrie (far left below), one of the managers, has been with The Chuck box for over 20 years and Paul (far right below), the general manager, has been at the restaurant since its inception, 47 years ago.
The Chuckbox crew is a large, extended family of sorts. They have worked together for decades and do their best to value every employee, which has obviously worked out. Even some of the employees behind the scenes (i.e. the gill master, cooks, servers, etc) have been there for over 30 years! How incredible is that?
"The Chuckbox values their employees as much as the customers and the business,” said Chris. “Even the cleaning crew has been here for about 30 years.”
Paul points out that he really tries to instill the family bonding through trying to help employees before anything else.
"We are more of a fix you, than fire you kind of place,” shared Paul.
Besides their amazing work culture, The Chuckbox has some other special secrets up their sleeves. And some of them, they aren’t sharing.
The Chuckbox uses the freshest ingredients possible, and never uses frozen meat. They hand scoop and press all their hamburger patties by hand, which they believe makes their burgers that much more flavorful. They also sprinkle every patty with their “Magic Dust,” which may be the secret as to why their food is darn good!
“We make magic dust that goes on every patty,” shared Paul. “We can’t tell you that secret of special herbs and spices.”
Paul also believes the special mesquite charcoal really makes a huge difference in the flavor of their hamburgers. This technique and extra addition really helps differentiate The Chuckbox from anywhere else.
The most important thing The Chuckbox offers is the ability to have it your way! With every order, the customer is in control of what goes on the sandwich. They can choose how much of something or how little of something goes on their specially made burger.
“We’ve been having it your way for 47 years,” said Paul. “We have no intention of changing and we believe that’s one of our customer’s favorite things about The Chuckbox.”
The Chuckbox is set in their ways and it has been working for them for almost five decades.
“So many restaurants come and go because they try to keep up with trends,” said Chris. “We work just has hard not to change and keep it the same.”
Chris believes the biggest compliment they can get is when someone comes in after years of not coming in and says the food is just as good as or even better than they remember.
A few years ago, The Chuckbox did make a small change and incorporated chicken sandwiches and a veggie burger to their menu, but that’s as far as they are going!
In the last few years, some of their post popular items have been the staples of the past.
Their Guacamole Bacon Cheese Burger is the one of their best sellers. They also have the “Tijuana Torpedo” which became popular after being showcased in a foodie magazine a few years back.
But nothing can compete with their signature 1/3 lb. burger, which Chris said is their #1 seller.
The Chuckbox still only accepts cash, which may be old school, but it’s been working well for them over these past 47 years. They say it helps the line move quickly and keeps the menu items at lower prices. But don't worry! There is an ATM in-house for those quick cash pulls.
All we have to say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
Here’s what some of their customers has to say when nominating the business as their favorite.
“These guys have been around forever, love their attitude and love of ASU and the community. Their charm is one I hope will stick around for many years to come!”
“I am nominating this business because they have awesome burgers and have always had good food since I first moved to Tempe Arizona, 30 years ago. They consistently deliver. Every time I have out of state visitors, I take them to Chuckbox. My visitors also enjoy their burgers so much, they ask to go there every time they are in town. Awesome owner and good food!”
“The Chuckbox is a Tempe icon! Whenever I'm in Downtown Tempe, it's a landmark that puts a smile on my face.”
“The Chuckbox in Tempe has been there for over four decades! Over forty years of serving hamburgers to Tempe residents, ASU students and restaurant connoisseurs. I've been a Tempe resident since 1995, but had been visiting Arizona a decade prior. My friend would always take me to The Chuckbox and am I glad she did.”
Downtown Tempe is honored to have such a Valley staple in its community and we wish for another 50 years of success to The Chuckbox!
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