Thursday, April 17, 2014
From staff reports
I've driven by Charlie's Diner in Westbrook, always making a mental note to stop there, a number of times over the past few years. The other day, I finally went there for lunch. I picked up a friend along the way and offered up two simple words: "Trust me."
At Charlie’s Diner, the fried haddock sandwich is served with fries and slaw. And breakfast is served all day.
Photos by Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer
Charlie's Diner in Westbrook
WHERE: 1557 Bridgton Road, Westbrook; 854-0048
HOURS: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
CHEAPEST GRUB: Two eggs with toast, $3.59
WAIT: 10 minutes
PARKING: Off-street lot
HANDICAPPED ACCESS: Yes
RATING: *** 1/2
Based on a five-star scale
I had a feeling we were in for something good.
I'll be honest: Charlie's isn't much to look at either outside or in. But it's certainly clean and tidy, and within a few minutes of arriving, I was right at home.
We were greeted by a cheery woman who took our drink orders post-haste, delivered menus and filled us in on the day's specials.
Charlie's won me over with four magical words that I always look for in a menu: "Breakfast served all day." I settled on a three-egg omelette with Swiss cheese and spinach along with a side of baked beans ($6.99). I had the option of substituting cheesy hash brown casserole for 99 cents, and I think I'll do that next time, because it sounds incredibly delicious.
The omelette was a good-sized affair, and although I'm not sure if the spinach was fresh or frozen, it was delicious. The baked beans also hit the spot, although they couldn't have been hotter. I savored every bite, and left satiated.
My satiation was in part due to the generosity of my lunch date. To coin a phrase, a friend with fries is a friend indeed. She ordered off the specials board, and got the fried haddock sandwich with coleslaw and a ton of fries for $7.99.
When our meals arrived, I was anxious to dig into mine, but also was green with envy at the feast that lay before my friend. The sandwich was hang-off-the-side-of-Fred-Flintstone's car big. She referred to it as a "two-fisted" fish sandwich, and had to cut it in half to tackle it.
She said that as far as fish sandwiches go, this was the equivalent of a filet mignon, and the haddock was hot, moist and flaky. Even the roll stood out. As my friend put it so well, "this was not a bargain-basement roll," but rather a "nice-looking and tasting" one.
As for the mega-mound of hot and crispy plies that covered her plate, she told me to "help myself," to which I replied, "Oh, I was planning on it!"
Charlie's Diner has a comprehensive menu to satisfy just about every craving, from pancakes (three for $6.99) and shepherd's pie ($7.29) to "Our Famous Club" (turkey, ham or chicken salad with bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheese and mayo, served on three slices of homemade bread and served with chips and a pickle for $7.99). Plus so much more.
If you're in the mood for some good old-fashioned diner food, consider Charlie's. I'm sure glad I finally made it there.
The staff of GO anonymously samples meals for about $10.
click image to enlarge
Cynthia Look batters the fish for a fried haddock sandwich.