By Jordan Frias
The iconic Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe in the South End was business as usual on the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 24, but was visited by an unusual amount of elected officials.
Governor Charlie Baker, Mayor Martin Walsh and former Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn gathered inside the small eatery to celebrate its official reopening.
The former owners, four siblings, who ran the restaurant for many decades, decided to close down on June 28 2014 to retire, according to a Boston Magazine article. That became an opportunity for local chef and restaurant owner Evan Deluty of Stella Restaurant on Washington Street to move in and reopen it in January under its same name and menu, bringing along with him Kaylie Thomas.
“It’s really great to be here,” said Thomas, the former Stella server turned manager of Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe. “It’s the official reopening, technically. Not everybody knows yet that we reopened. I still have customers every day that come in and say they didn’t know.”
Thomas had the pleasure of serving Gov. Baker coffee and six blueberry muffins to go for $20.06, prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony that commenced moments later.
Baker left her a $5 tip.
During his remarks, Baker said he was pleased to hear that the restaurant was keeping its name.
Walsh echoed Baker’s praise for the new owners and commented on its ability to attract a diverse set of politicians.
“When you look at who has been here, there were elected officials from past and present,” the mayor said.
State Rep. Byron Rushing said, “I know how important it was to revitalize the space. It is a symbol of the real diversity of the South End.”
“We were very saddened when it looked like it was going to close down,” Rushing told The Sun. “We have very few businesses left over from the days before urban renewal in the 70s so it’s great to have this establishment that has been reinvigorated.”
State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz also spoke to The Sun after the ceremony, and said he plans to hold coffee hours with constituents at the location, as he did prior to its closure.
“This is an institution that has surpassed many generations of politicians, customers and residents,” he said. “For it to reemerge in its same form is very nice and we’re happy to see that.”
While the look and feel of the establishment is the same, there are some changes that have been made and a few more down the line, according to its manager.
The restaurant is now open on Sundays and is looking to provide diners with a lunch and dinner menu. It still operates on a cash-only policy, but now has an operating bathroom, Thomas added.
“[It’s reopening] changed my whole life. I was planning to move to California, but this has now given me a reason to stay here,” she said. “It’s on a road to success and I’m happy, I’m honored, to be a part of it.”