Stepping Back in Time…
One of the things I miss the most about my hometown of quaint Cheshire, Connecticut are the ‘mom & pop’ delis, grocery stores and restaurants that have survived the test of time. While over the years, these types of hometown businesses have been replaced by drugstore chains, Dunkin’ Donuts and Super Stop & Shop, I always relish in visiting the remaining few when I take a trip home.
Upon moving to the South End of Boston two years ago, I found comfort in the unique clothing boutiques, family-run grocery store and hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant (I’ve never actually been to Yum Mee Garden but, hey, I’m pretty sure it’s one-of-a-kind!) that line Tremont Street and Columbus Avenue. But, there’s one restaurant that truly stands out when I think of a ‘mom & pop’ shop hidden in the city.
If you haven’t experienced Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe at 429 Columbus Avenue, you’ve been missing out. Walking through the awning-covered doors is like stepping back in time. Knick-knacks line the wall; black & white photographs, scribbled menu additions and scattered awards decorate the space and give you the feeling of being in your grandma’s kitchen…or at least a place much closer to home than the average Boston restaurant. Not to mention, there’s a working antique ‘ice box’ that holds their dairy products and a retro counter fully-equipped with silver stools and soda pop.
The menu is straightforward and plentiful. Since 1927, Charlie’s has been open for business and serving hungry patrons a hodgepodge of menu items, including pancakes (my favorite are the raspberry griddlecakes), fluffy omelettes and lunch-time basics like turkey clubs and B.L.Ts, to a name a few. Charlie’s is open for business from 6:30am-2pm on weekdays and from 7am-1pm on Saturdays (yes, Sunday brunch lovers sadly miss out); at peak times, they always have a line out the door. Expect to wait…but you won’t be disappointed.
- Charlie’s only accepts cash, come prepared. Almost everything on the menu is under $10. You’ll be stuffed to the brim, without spending much money. The omelettes come with a plethora of home fries and salad. The pancakes are HUGE!
- If you choose to dine at the restaurant, be fore-warned that the seating is communal, which means that you will be rubbing elbows with the random person sitting next to you (but hey, it could be Al Gore or Natalie Cole, both of whom have frequented Charlie’s!).
- If you want a glass of water, it’s serve-yourself-style. Make your way to the back of the restaurant to quench your thirst.
- There are no public restrooms (…on second thought, maybe stay away from that water!).
- If you’re not into waiting in line, sharing a table or serving yourself water, take-out is available and just as delicious.
Posted by Alyssa