Charles Carlock’s transition to running Rusty Beagle Sports Grill was born out of his promise to his father that he would keep the family business alive.
Rusty Carlock, the founder of Rusty Beagle and Charles’ father, died of cancer in March 2015. And at first, Charles was not certain he would be able to successfully run the restaurant, raise his 9-month-old son and maintain his job at the same time.
“It was going to be a struggle. I didn’t know anything about the restaurant—when I walked in the door, I didn’t have access to bank accounts; I didn’t know passwords to computers; I didn’t know anything about anything,” Charles said.
Charles credits his wife, Jackie, for much of the restaurant’s success.
“She decided to quit her career and come here and run the restaurant,” Charles said. “My dad was in the hospital, and we were trying to figure out what we were going to do. At some point, I think it was close to the end, he sat up and was like, ‘We are not going to sell the restaurant. We are going to keep it.’”
While also working at Halliburton, Charles said Rusty Beagle’s mission is hardly about making money.
“Everybody is in business to make money, but that’s not my main driver,” Charles said. “This is what my dad wanted. I feel like God has given me this huge favor.”
Rather than cater to just the sports-watching crowd, Charles said he wanted to ensure the restaurant would be a place all members of the family would feel welcome at.
“If you come in and ask us for a sponsorship to sponsor your kid’s [T-ball] team, we do it,” he said. “This restaurant is about helping people.”
Beyond sponsoring local children’s teams, one of Rusty Beagle’s most recent means of giving back was its sponsoring of an event for a military veteran who passed away.
“It was definitely very humbling to have all those people here,” Charles said. “His father was here; his wife was here. The coolest thing was there was people from New York, Alaska, Canada … everywhere.”
The restaurant that was once his father’s dream has turned into a business benefiting the community—something Charles says his father would be proud of despite the initial challenges.