[UPDATED] Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe Reopens This Week
UPDATE, Friday, January 22, 7 a.m.: Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe is slinging hash for the first time in almost two years today. On Thursday night, contractor Derek Lavelle and his crew were still finishing up repairs, but it was time. “It’s been a year and a half,” owner Evan Deluty says. “I’m just gonna open the doors and start cooking eggs.”
And griddle cakes, and turkey hash. But no sandwiches, entrees, or salads just yet: Lunch will resume on February 22, when Charlie’s will also extend its hours to 9 p.m. Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe is now open Sundays, for the first time in its history.
Deluty is offering the exact same menu that Charlie’s has always served—right down to the photo of the previous owners, the Majourides siblings, on the cover. He doesn’t plan to replace it with a portrait of his own family. For one, he doesn’t like to be photographed; two, he’s paying respect to Arthur, Chris, Marie, and Fontaine. “They got a ton of offers, and they chose me,” he says.
He did update the space, though. He gutted it completely: New brown glass and white subway tiles line the walls, and sleek, diamond plating adorns the counter. The 12 red, vinyl stools are original, though, and he’s keeping a handful of solid, formica-topped tables. Plus, he purchased all of the photographs and memorabilia that decorated the narrow diner.
Deluty trained at the Culinary Institute of America and was executive chef at UpStairs at the Pudding before he opened his own restaurants Bistro 5 in West Medford, Restaurant Torch in Beacon Hill, and Stella, just down the street from Charlie’s. In 2014, he only owned Stella, and he wasn’t looking for a new project, but Charlie’s was different. “I was intrigued, and I was sad, because I didn’t want to see it go away.”
He tapped into his team at Stella to help launch Charlie’s. Kaylie Thomas is managing the diner, and Gio Rivera, a Stella cook for more than seven years, is behind the counter at Charlie’s. Deluty’s wife, Candice, and sister-in-law, Courtney Stevens, will help wait tables, and so will Marie (Majourides) Fuller.
Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe is open daily 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
For almost 90 years, Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe served up poached and fried eggs, seared burgers, griddle cakes, tuna melts, and a famous turkey hash to Columbus Avenue locals and visitors alike—often, when nobody else would.
The 32-seat diner became an institution as it shunned the accepted norms of segregation after it opened in 1927, embracing an inclusive, predominantly African American clientele. Throughout its history, it served jazz musicians, cops, athletes, mafioso, entertainers, politicians—even sitting presidents—and some of Boston’s most notable chefs.
It shuttered in 2014, when sibling owners Arthur, Chris, Marie, and Fontaine Majourides announced their mutual retirement. They had taken over for original owner Charlie Poulos more than 60 years before, and they were due for a vacation.
Just a few months passed before restaurateur Evan Deluty announced plans to reopen the iconic South End diner. He would recreate the breakfast and lunch menus, and keep the interior “largely the same.” Currently chef and owner of Stella, Deluty shuttered his adjacent café before the holidays in anticipation of Charlie’s new beginning.
On Friday morning, according to @DigBoston (h/t Boston Restaurant Talk), you can see for yourself if the red, vinyl stools still line the counter; if the handwritten signs still tout a cash-only policy; and if the signed, framed photos of its famous guests still hang to tell its story.
Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe, 429 Columbus Avenue, Boston.