Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe, South End, Boston

February is National Hot Breakfast Month and is the perfect time to discuss Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe. Founded in 1927, this sandwich institution has attracted a legion of loyal diners, jazz musicians and celebrity visitors. Charlie’s has deep roots in Boston and won a James Beard Foundation Award for Southern Wine & Spirits of NY America’s Classics.

We have tried to go to Charlie’s on several whims, however each time they were closed. Charlie’s hours are Monday through Friday from 6 am to 2:30 pm and Saturday 7:30 am to 1:00 pm. This time, we arrived around noon on Saturday and did not have to wait in any line (which can be long).

Charlie’s menu has a great selection of American breakfast items from breakfast sandwiches, omelettes and muffin tops, as well as burgers, classic lunch sandwiches including corn beef and entrees such as meatloaf, franks and beans and fried fish and chips. The portions are generous and prices very reasonable. You feel at home at Charlie’s. Everyone is friendly, there is a neighborhood feel and you will be well fed.

Some restrictions to be aware of is Charlie’s is cash only, there is a $3.75 minimum per person at a table and there is a 25 minute limit after food arrives. Water is self-service, at the back of the restaurant.

Ancillary provisions for breakfast include a cup of coffee, syrup, cream, pats of butter and a small bottle of Frank’s Red Hot.

Along the wall features a plethora of photographs with famous signatures, there was also a letter dated from 1946.

Charlie’s is a small establishment with red stools for counter seating and several tables. We were guided through our seating options and shared a table with two sets of diners.

Charlie’s is synonymous with unbelievable turkey hash. We had to have the award-winning turkey hash, two fried eggs with butter-soaked toast.

The turkey hash has a nice crusty exterior and a fluffy center filled with potatoes and bits of turkey. We noticed each turkey hash patron had their own system of eating. Some covered their eggs completely with ketchup, others ate their eggs and hash separately. Or like my sister, sprinkles it with a bit of sugar and salt before digging in.

After we split the eggs, the runny yolks seeped into the hash patty and created an additional layer of richness to the turkey hash bites. The two slices of buttery toast offered a nice salt component to the meal.

The three large Blueberry Griddle Cakes with bacon were some of the best pancakes ever eaten. The freshly made griddle cakes were super fluffy and dotted with plump blueberries throughout. The saltiness of the crispy bacon was a perfect addition to the sweetness of the syrup and blueberries.

We would definitely be back for exactly what we ordered today, hash and blueberry griddle cakes.

The diners next to us ordered the Turkey Club with bacon, lettuce & tomato, a sausage breakfast sandwich and some tasty looking home fries. The lunch items look really solid, on my next visit, I would love to order the Fried Chicken with coleslaw and fries for $8.95 or a BLT.

BMH will be featured in Where Hash Rules, an e-book written by George Aaron Cuddy and photographed by Brooke T. Wolin on the history of Charlie’s. There will be featured recipes from local chefs and bloggers. It will soon be available at the iTunes Store. We are looking forward to trying the other recipes in the e-book and continuing our appreciation of the rich history of Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe.

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