A Harvard Square institution, Charlie’s Kitchen is a mix between a great neighborhood dive bar and 50’s diner. With its red leather booths and unassuming façade, it’s a great old school venue.
Given the Hub’s general reputation for rudeness, particularly in old school neighborhood joints, Charlie’s is the kind of place where one might be concerned that they would be mocked for placing an order with caveats and conditions. Luckily and as usual, my neuroses were completely unfounded. The waitress was nice and helpful.
Over the summer, I had been to Charlie’s and had Anheuser Busch’s Redbridge, a gluten-free beer. I ordered the same last week. The waitress checked the whole restaurant, even the upstairs dining area, but they were out. Luckily, they had a few ciders available.
When I placed my order, the waitress was really great, she told me what was ok and asked questions when not sure.
I ordered a blue cheese and bacon burger sans bun. The burger was a little on the dry side, but that may have been my fault. I ordered it medium-well. The bacon was beautiful, really crispy. It went well with the blue cheese, but I do wish they had thrown the cheese under the broiler for a second to get it bubbly. It makes a difference.
The waitress mentioned that the fries were just fresh potato, but cooked in the same fryer as gluten products. I had caught glimpses of fries coming out of the kitchen and saw the fries were really light. Personally, I find if something is light, golden brown, it means the fryer oil is changed frequently enough that I will not get sick. I took a chance and it was worth it. Charlie’s has those little, skinny crispy fries. Like the ones at McDonald’s, when they just come out of the fryer, but better.
If you don’t want to take the chance on the fries, they seem to have a variety of other sides to choose from and will substitute without mockery or derision.
Charlie’s is worth the visit just for the atmosphere and wait staff. It’s a great place and I hope to go back soon.
g/f friendly: 3 out of 5
taste and quality of food: 4 out of 5