329 Columbus Ave. Boston; (617) 536-7669 A fixture since 1927, Charlie’s ties the new and old South End together, serving up hearty portions of surprisingly innovative breakfast foods. Mine thought he’d died and gone to heaven, so throughly did he enjoy the Cape Cod French Toast ($4.90), thick slices of French toast smothered in hot cranberry compote. Mmmmm. Griddle cakes can come baked with cranberries, blueberries, bananas, strawberries, or smothered in hot apple compote (most also $4.90).
Everything here is super-fresh (Mine watched a delivery of strawberries come in), and cooked to order. Sit at the counter to get a bird’s-eye view of eggs being poached, dropped, scrambled, fried, and omeletted. Those omelettes, by the way, are on the pricey side $5.75 to $7.35 but they’re served with home fries, toast, and a salad. Start your day at Charlie’s, and you can definitely skip lunch.
Or, have it here. It’s not called Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe for nothing. Wrap your hands around a jumbo hot dog for $2.50 (make it a chili dog for an extra buck), or a hot’ sausage and egg sandwich for $3.75. Entrees include chicken cutlets with mashed potatoes and gravy for $6.45, served with homemade combread.
Charlie’s is a neighborhood joint, top to bottom. Walls are plastered with pictures and memorabilia. You may share one of the three tables with strangers, or sit at the counter. Mine’s only complaint: They get you on beverages ($1.15 for eight ounces of OJ!). That aside, this place is perfect Open Mondays through Fridays from 6 A.M. to 2:30 P.M. Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 1 P.M.