The Chuck Wagon restaurant was built in 1970 by Darrell Smith. It was one of several “Chuck Wagon” restaurants in the metro east area.
All of those eateries had the name Bert’s Chuck Wagon. Even though Darrell offered the same menu as other “Chuck Wagon” restaurants, he chose not to put the name Bert’s upon his establishment. Thus, it has always been The Chuck Wagon, which comes as a great surprise to most regular customers, for they know it as “Bert’s”!
In 1975, Darrell sold the restaurant to Hector and Sandra Gonzales. For the next nine years, the Gonzales family of six worked long, hard hours to help ensure the success of the business. The Chuck Wagon became a popular destination on Thursday and Saturday nights when they added an All-You-Can-Eat dinner of Mexican food.
As the children in the Gonzales family grew up and either went to college or married, Hector and Sandra looked for simpler days ahead. It was for that reason that they decided to sell the family business to their son, Hector, and his wife, Linda, in 1984.
Hector and Linda Gonzales, along with their three children, currently own and operate The Chuck Wagon. The restaurant is succesful not only because the owners are usually on the premises, but also the employees are among the best in Fairview Heights. Another factor is many of the original customers of the 70’s now bring their children and grandchildren back to The Chuck Wagon for the same great dining they experienced.
Although the menu has remained relatively unchanged over the years, occasionally there’s an urge to “spice things up” and a new item is added. It’s a challenge, however, to convince anyone to try something new as regulars know exactly what they want before they pass the holly trees.
But whether you’re a long-time patron or a new customer, the goal is to serve you delicious food… quickly… and at a reasonable price. After all, The Chuck Wagon family wants you to return again and again.